7.6/10
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2 user 8 critic

Bay of All Saints (2012)

In Bahia, Brazil, generations of impoverished families live in palafitas, a vast network of shacks built on stilts above a rising tide of garbage over the ocean bay. When the government ... See full summary »

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In Bahia, Brazil, generations of impoverished families live in palafitas, a vast network of shacks built on stilts above a rising tide of garbage over the ocean bay. When the government threatens to reclaim the bay in the name of ecological restoration, hundreds of families are about to lose their homes. Filmed over 6 years, BAY OF ALL SAINTS is a lyrical portrait of three single-mothers living in the water slums during this crisis. Geni, AKA 'Miss Mayor,' a pizza parlor manager rapidly becomes a community organizer; Jesus, a laundry-washer, starts to look beyond her dreams of a Prince Charming who never comes; Dona Maria, a trash-picker, once freed from domestic servitude, ventures outside the palafitas as she raises her 16 children and grandchildren on the ocean bay. Their individual stories of poverty unfold through visits from Norato, their big-hearted refrigerator repairman, born and raised in the palafitas. He bears witness, as each family is promised a new home in governmental ... Written by Anonymous

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As the last of the notorious water slums is demolished in Bahia, Brazil, will three single mothers face homelessness or rally for a better life?

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Documentary

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9 March 2012 (USA)  »

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16:9 HD
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Trivia

Norato, the refrigerator repairman, is the younger brother of Mestre Moraes, a world renowned master of Capoeira. Norato is one of 8 musicians on the Smithsonian Institute's recording of Grupo Capoeira Angola Pelorinho's first CD, the most widely distributed Capoeira CD. See more »

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Norato: Here in the water slums, there are some things you can fix, and others you can't.
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A Beautiful Film about the Water Slums of Brazil
12 March 2012 | by See all my reviews

Bay of All Saints was well-received in its world premiere at Austin's SXSW Film Festival. Bay of All Saints is a beautiful, compassionate film that allows those of us with so much more a chance to look inside the lives of some of the poorest of the poor. This is a hidden world that we all know at some level exists, but which we rarely allow ourselves bear witness to. There have been a number of films in recent years that capture extreme poverty in the developing world including Which Way Home (child migrants in Mexico), Garbage Dreams (Coptic garbage workers in Cairo, Egypt), and Iron Crows (Bangladeshi ship yard recyclers) among others. Bay of All Saints follows the lives of 3 families living in shacks on stilts overlooking the Bay of All Saints in the city of Salvador in Brazil's Bahia province. Their desperate poverty is contrasted with the beauty of the gorgeous bay that they live along. The film follows their lives over a period of 6 years as they struggle with their desperate poverty. During this time, the Brazilian government with money from the World Bank promises to clear the slums (in order to build a boardwalk for tourists) and build them new subsidized public housing, but the project and the hope that it represented is delayed in the morass of Brazil's bureaucracy and corruption. The poorest of the poor rarely have a voice in any society. Annie Eastman's eloquent film gives them a small voice that they can attempt to raise to tell the world that they exist and their suffering shouldn't be ignored. I hope that film is widely viewed by all who believe that everyone has the right to live in dignity. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that the political will can be built to help these families and the hundreds of millions of others who live lives of quiet desperation. But every voice raised in protest is a small step in the right direction. A film like Bay of all Saints at least allows us a view of the humanity of the desperately poor who are so often ignored and forgotten.


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