Centered on the relationship between indigenous and Western culture, The Modern Jungle documents the tensions that emerge when an elderly Zoque couple come into contact with global capitalism and the filmmaking process. Carmen and Juan are fighting to keep the small plot of land they’ve worked on their whole lives in southern Mexico. Juan, who is also a shaman, struggles with a hernia that traditional methods can’t treat, and soon gets sucked into a nutritional supplement pyramid scheme. Fairbanks and Kak (himself an advocate for indigenous rights) disclose upfront that Juan and Maria are being paid, dismissing long-held myths about “pure” relationships between ethnographer and subject.