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Bus 174 [DVD] (2002)
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Multi-award winning documentary by Brazilian director José Padilha, exploring the conditions and circumstances that led to an armed siege on a Rio bus in June 2000. When Sandro do Nascimento, a young homeless man evidently high on drugs, failed in his attempt to rob Ônibus 174 in a wealthy area of Rio de Janeiro, he took the bus passengers hostage armed with a pistol. The situation escalated as the police, a SWAT team and reporters converged on the bus, and the hijacking unfolded in front of a nation until it reached its tragic and horrific climax. Padilha looks behind the event at the circumstances of Sandro's life: he had watched his mother's brutal murder as a small boy, and managed to survive the 1993 massacre of homeless children at Candelária. The documentary shows the desperation of Sandro's plight, using interviews with people involved in the event, including members of Sandro's family, and live television footage to tell this powerful and unsettling story.
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Top Customer Reviews
'Bus 174' paints a different picture. The only thing organised here is the live television coverage. The hijacker is a dysfunctional young man, trapped in a situation beyond his imagination. The police are two steps behind chaos, their uniforms and weaponry never disguising their ineptitude or lack of focus. The audience is the whole of Rio de Janiero and Brazil ... and the world.
Perhaps the most densely and closely filmed live action of its type, director Jose Padilha explains that he was working out at a local gym when he noticed the TV coverage. Like millions of other Brazilians, he became enraptured by the drama unfolding on the screen. He determined to look beyond it, to explore the rationale of the hijacker and his adversaries ... and of the media who flooded in to cover the events.
This is high drama. Street theatre. Padilha sets out to question the nature of violence and its reporting. The siege was wall-to-wall press spectacle, but after it ended, the media fell silent, failing to look beyond the theatre to understand how the script had been written, the characters drawn, and the actors thrust into their roles.
This is an inquiry into how we receive and perceive news, how it is edited, how it is censored and packaged. The cameras thrive on sensation, not explanation.Read more ›
Truth to be told, I was afraid it was going to be too violent. I wasn t wrong, but there is much more to "Bus 174" than violence. This documentary includes live footage regarding what happened, but also interviews with street kids that knew Sandro, the man who ended up as the main protagonist of this tragedy. He didn t have a purpose, he didn t ask for anything, he just was stopped in the middle of a robbery and ended up trapped in a situation he couldn t handle.
The documentary allows us to be witnesses to Sandro s life, and to the events that would take him from his home, to the streets, a reformatory, prison and finally bus 174. Some interviews with a social worker, a sociologist, a journalist and the mediator that worked in this case allow to shed more light on this event, and on Sandro s life. For example, we learn that Sandro never knew his father, and that he witnessed the murder of his mother at a young age. After that, he ran away from his home and started living in the streets, joining a gang of "meninos da rua". Sandro was also one of the survivors of the "Candelaria massacre" of children that lived in the street, that happened in the early 1990 s. He escaped violent death, only to find it later, in a different way.Read more ›
The story that unfolds is fascinating. Director Jose Padhila meets some of the key protagonists in both the event itself and the life of the hostage taker, Sandro. It is here a more complex story emerges and Padilha neatly weaves this into the narrative of the main event.
What shocks is how utterly unglamorous the whole incident is. Our usual vision of hostage situations is through the lense of a Hollywood camera, making it exciting and beautiful. Here the TV footage reveals chaos and panic but also how utterly ordinary it all seems. Yet underneath it all is a real sense of fear and desperation which both drive the story forwards whilst also compelling you to keep watching, as the millions of TV viewers did back in June 2000.
Throughout the film a varying cast recount their memories and observations. Some do come across as quite unpleasant people. The street gang friend of Sandro's seems full of bravado and arrogance whilst the special police officer (both disguised) seems to find no value in the lives of the homeless street people.
It is this which leaves the most lasting impression. Watching this film it is sad to conclude that the lives of the street people really aren't viewed as all that important. It is a wonderful damning insight into a world you would never see, and a million miles from the Favella chic of "City Of God". A deftly told story which will probably leave you with the one emotion utterly absent throughout the film itself, outrage.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great documentary film with some very interesting twists.Published 23 months ago by Amazon Customer
A great documentary which makes the largely hidden horror of inequality in Brazil visible. Well made with good interviews which give background to Sandro and what may have led him... Read morePublished on 14 Aug. 2013 by Lampedusa
This is a commendable, compelling Brazilian Documentary about a kidnap stand off with the police, when a man takes a hostage at gunpoint on a bus. Read morePublished on 12 Aug. 2011 by T. BROOKES
If you like documentaries, you must watch this. If you are interested in Brazilian culture and society, you must watch this. If you are interested in humanity, you must watch this. Read morePublished on 30 Jan. 2011 by PM