Χρονολογία: 2003 , Brazil
Σκηνοθεσία: José Padilha Felipe Lacerda (co-director)
One of those moments when you realise that you know nothing about the roots of another culture or society. And when you start learning, the pits of your stomach heave and your heart collapses at the deplorable and impossibly harsh reality of other people's lives.
Onibus 174 is the piecing together of an event that took place in 2000 in Rio de Janeiro, where a gunman took a busload of passengers hostage. The whole event was televised live to the nation, and this documentary film uses this footage, along with interviews with survivors, friends and relatives of the gunman, to document the implications of a society that treats its poor with a disdain not even reserved for deformed animals.
I can honestly say I have never sat through a film that was as difficult to watch as this. Throughout most of it my stomach clenched with anxiety, pity, misery and sadness. I cried at the plight of the street kids. I cried at the description of the child seeing his mother being stabbed 3 times and crawling about with a kitchen knife sticking out of her shoulder until she died in front of him. I cried at the last moments of the hijacking. And I cried at the reaction of the baying, blood-thirsty crowd of on-lookers at the end. And all this from live images. As it happened. The crude, devastating vicissitudes of a society wracked with poverty and hardship.
I have no idea why this film affected me so profoundly, but there's no doubt that is was largely to do with witnessing the real effects of social meltdown. The street kids are merely trying to gather together the semblance of an existence. Suddenly the thefts and muggings became understandable; I could be swayed to be not just sympathetic towards, but defensive of their crime, such is the extent of their horrendous degradation. And this is the result of rendering them invisible.
A film that's devastating, enlightening and enfuriating in equal parts. It has to be watched, but beware that it'll make you all too aware of your own impotence.