Brazilian MD Drauzio Varella starts AIDS prevention in Brazil's largest prison, Carandiru, in São Paulo, where the population is nearly double its 4,000 maximum. Doc learns from experience ...
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The lively João Grilo and the sly Chicó are poor guys living in the hinterland who cheat a bunch of people in a small Northeast Brazil town. But when they die, they have to be judged by ... See full summary »
André, relatively poor, falls in love with Silvia, a neighbor whom he spies with a telescope. Falling more and more in love with her, he begins to follow her around the city and realizes ... See full summary »
A trip to the mental institution hell. This odyssey is lived by Neto, a middle class teenager, who lives a normal life until his father sends him to a mental institution after finding drugs... See full summary »
Lisbela is a young woman who loves going to the movies. Leléu is a con man, going from town to town selling all sort of things and performing as master of ceremonies for some cheesy numbers... See full summary »
The life and times of Cazuza, Brazilian singer/poet/enfant terrible, from his start with rock group "Barão Vermelho", to his death from Aids, in 1990, showing his career, love affairs, and involvement with drugs.
Daniel de Oliveira,
After a prison riot, former-Captain Nascimento, now a high ranking security officer in Rio de Janeiro, is swept into a bloody political dispute that involves government officials and paramilitary groups.
The publicist Claudio and the housewife and choral teacher Helena have been married for many years, but they do not understand and respect the feelings and view point of the partner. ... See full summary »
Brazilian MD Drauzio Varella starts AIDS prevention in Brazil's largest prison, Carandiru, in São Paulo, where the population is nearly double its 4,000 maximum. Doc learns from experience and mainly stories the tragic stories of hideous crimes which landed scum there and passionate dramas adding otherwise decent people. Just when he believes to leave the prisoners happy with a soccer tournament, a silly clothing line argument kick-starts a politically opportune revolt repression.Written by
The real Carandiru prison was demolished in 2002, it will be transformed into a park with arts facilities. One block (#2) was left intact to be used as a museum. The film was the last thing they used the prison before demolishing 90% of it. See more »
During the riot, as the inmates are running up the stairs of the cell block shortly after the riot squad has entered, one inmate can be seen wearing a T-Shirt of hip-hop group the Wu-Tang Clan. The group only formed in the year the riot took place (1992), and did not release their first widely available album (36 Chambers - Enter the Wu-Tang) until the following year. It is unlikely they would at this time have had a following in Brazil, nor would merchandise be available. See more »
I've come to take the test.
Médico - Physician:
Please, take a seat. First, I'd like to ask you a few questions, Lady Di.
I've seen this movie before, doctor. I've never needed a blood transfusion and I never pierce my veins. The only drug I use is a joint now and then... when I watch TV or for a little romance.
Médico - Physician:
And partners, how many?
Oh, about 2000.
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On October 2, 1992, a riot broke out at the Sao Paolo House of Detention in Carandiru, Brazil. By the end of that day, 111 prisoners lay dead, the victims of the riot police who stormed the facility and brutally massacred them - even after they'd surrendered their weapons.
Perhaps the most striking aspect about Carandiru is that it doesn't hit us over the head with its subject matter - at least not initially, that is. For roughly the first two-thirds of its nearly two-and-a-half-hour running time, the film focuses on the lives and struggles of the prisoners, as seen through the eyes of the compassionate doctor whose book on the subject served as the basis for the film. Without passing moral judgment, Dr. Drauzio Varella, who has been sent there mainly to help stem the spread of AIDS in the facility,
listens sympathetically to the stories the men tell regarding the crimes they committed (mainly murder) which led to their incarceration (these we see acted out in numerous flashback sequences). Although the prison is tremendously overcrowded and drug use and disease run rampant through the corridors, the conditions don't appear to be quite as harsh or hellish as we might have expected them to be before seeing the movie. For one thing, the men seem to be treated rather decently by the guards - who seem to exist in surprisingly small numbers, actually - and the prisoners appear to have more freedom to walk around and interact with one another than we are used to seeing in American prisons (or, at least, in movies about American prisons). In fact, so much time is spent exploring the relationship problems between the men in their prisons and their loved ones on the outside that Carandiru often feels more like a "novela" set behind bars than a gritty depiction of life in a human hellhole.
But all that changes in the last half hour of the film after the riot has begun and we see the prisoners gunned down in cold blood, many of them while cowering in their cells. It is a brutal and terrifying display of raw, inhuman savagery, one that far surpasses anything we have seen perpetrated by the prisoners themselves. However, writer/director Hector Babenco (along with co-authors Fernando Bonassi and Victor Navas) does not attempt to sanctify or glorify the convicts either, for much of what they do to their fellow human beings is not too many moral steps removed from what the riot squad members eventually do to them. Although the filmmakers' sympathies clearly lie with the prisoners, who are at least presented to us as flawed, three-dimensional human beings, he is not afraid to show the evil side of these men when he needs to as well. The acts of violence that the prisoners perpetrate on their victims and each other are conveyed by the filmmaker with a dispassionate efficiency and awe-inspiring swiftness that are indeed chilling.
As a drama, Carandiru could have benefited from a bit of tightening in its earlier stretches, for the film feels a trifle unfocused and meandering at times. Still, by concentrating so intently on the everyday minutiae of these men's lives in prison, Babenco certainly helps the characters to become more real for the viewer, thereby intensifying the sense of loss when the tragedy occurs.
Blessed with a large and gifted cast, Carandiru offers a long, sometimes touching, sometimes painful look into a world and an event that would otherwise have remained hidden from the eyes of the world.
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