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The Fourth World (2011)

A quick look at the slums of Nairobi, Guatemala City, and Manila.


Mark Volkers


Mark Volkers


Mark Volkers
9 wins. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Mark Volkers Mark Volkers ... (voice)


One out of every six human beings lives in a very hidden world--the world of slums. Filmed on five continents, 'The Fourth World' takes viewers deep inside this hidden world, a world the United Nations says could triple in the next 30 years. Getting past the statistics is tough. 'One Billion' is a figure we cannot wrap our minds around. This compelling film introduces viewers to the individuals who make up this statistic. It soon becomes apparent that these people are no different than anyone else. In fact, it could be argued that anyone who can survive slum life could make it anywhere. 'The Fourth World' may just change your perspective on slum life, and the chronically poor of the Developing World. The Fourth World: Hear Their Stories. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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slum | See All (1) »


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User Reviews

An Alternate Universe Right Next Door
14 November 2019 | by SweaterizedSee all my reviews

I like documentaries in general; they provide a look at a slice of reality in a unique way that helps to position thinking, belief, and even action. However, often there's a typical "documentary style" that becomes routine, in which the subject of the film is analyzed for detail and the humanity becomes secondary. Such coldness is not universal, of course, but for my friends who dislike the documentary genre, this style is often what they point to as problematic for them. It's the old "show vs. tell" dynamic at play, and when a documentary only tells, it misses the heart of the issue.

The Fourth World has plenty of heart, and it breaks down this concept of "standard documentary" by detailing the lives of specific individuals within each of the three communities. If the goal is to make this "fourth world" of poverty and slum living real and relatable to viewers in the "first world," this film does so quite effectively. Instead of showing the poverty of Guatemala's slums via architecture, dirt, tattered clothing, and an objective eye, this film takes us through the life of one courageous woman who faces multiple hurdles in life and faith. Without such a direct, focused, relatable person at the heart of the story, talking about slums becomes only a mildly interesting academic exercise.

The film handles other slums around the world in similar fashion, and no viewer can remain unmoved by the plight and the success of the people featured. Full of evocative cinematography, focused storytelling, and strategic character development, this is a great example of a film that models showing instead of just telling. It's a film that can change lives by showing the humanity and reality of other lives.

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Release Date:

August 2012 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Negyedik világ See more »

Filming Locations:

Guatemala See more »

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