An examination of corruption and class warfare in Brazil as told through the stories of a wealthy businessman, a plastic surgeon who assists kidnapping victims and a politician whose income relies on a frog farm.
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Several stories are told simultaneously: a frog farm in northern Brasil launders money for a corrupt politician; a young woman who was kidnapped for ransom talks about her ordeal; a plastic surgeon discusses then demonstrates how to reconstruct a severed ear; a young business man has his cars armored and takes a course in evasive driving; a policeman in Sao Paulo's anti-kidnapping squad discusses his work; a civil engineer, the attorney general, and a district attorney describe their anti-corruption efforts. Violence and corruption is Brasil: the object is money. Written by
The filmmakers struggled to find a kidnapper to film after the bribes to get into the prison where their preferred interviewee was staying proved too steep. The driver of a cab they used one day delivered "packages" on the side for a kidnapper, and introduced them to the masked man interviewed extensively in the film. Director Jason Kohn also was at the kidnapper's home when police stopped by and walked around the outside, the one moment of filming he said he feared for his life. See more »
The film portrays an egocentric point of view. It adds to the typical assumption that American are ethnocentric and can only see the world from their own perspective. The director adopted an egocentric and ethnocentric position. He did not allow the narratives to flow within the main theme. He literally directed narratives to a conclusion he had pre-conceived. Superficial as it is, it does not encompass the complex socioeconomic system in which it takes place.
It is disturbing and without any sense to see interpreters competing with characters their speech. It is a shame to show an egocentric doctor, proud of himself and ignoring the painful and traumatic circumstances their patients were exposed. It is also questionable whether a "successful business man" who had been kidnapped, would agree to expose himself in a documentary such as it intended to be. This raises questions around the credibility of this documentary.
It is very pretentious to say that Manda Bala explains violence and political frauds in Brazil. It is clear that no one involved in this production knows about Latin America and much less international foreign policies and unnecessary to say, skipped sociology classes.
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