Bus 174 (2002)(Politics)

Have you ever seen "Tropa de Elite" and its apparently-superior sequel? Those two Brazilian feature films, by director Jose Padilha, knock "City of God" to its knees in terms of its riveting depiction of the harrowing, unfathomable reality faced every single day by those souls who have the terrible misfortune of dwelling in one of Rio de Janeiro's hundreds of favelas. Padilha now brings us his very first documentary, also focusing on the horrors of life in the slums, and how its brutalities drove one very young man to take an entire bus full of civilians hostage in downtown Rio.

However, rather than focus simply on the crime itself, Padilha brilliantly--and pointedly--shows us the incredible inadequacy of Rio de Janeiro's police force, and its incompetent treatment of the infamous hostage situation. Rather than blame the officers themselves, however, Padilha shows us how pitiful police training and outright desperation (police work is apparently regarded as, simply, an available job in Brasil, much like customer service, taken on by men who absolutely require employment of some kind )somehow permitted the press and public to get as close to the scene of danger as the crime prevention forces themselves. This is not merely a film, then, about the origins and nature of the disturbing incident; it urgently addresses the rampant corruption and howling ineptitude among crime control in a city that is poised to host both the next World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

[It must be said that one of us at AltDoc has not only lived in Brasil for a period of time, but also presently works with many of its citizens during our practical moneymaking part of the day. Among the most charismatic, intelligent, expressive, and generous people on the face of the planet, it is almost insulting to say that Brasilians deserve better than such a horror show of social and class inequality, but removing an element of their culture that has been embedded so deeply, and for so very long, is a bleak and--unfortunately--nearly impossible task.]

added by: nadya