HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Treasure City
Piccadilly
Parallel
Invasión
Shiva Baby
Flowers of Shanghai
War and Peace
Agony
Merrily We Go to Hell
Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt)
Amusement Park, The
Lemebel
Hands of Orlac, The
Cats
Death has Blue Eyes
Caveat
Kala Azar
Duplicate
Flashback
Gunda
After Love
Earwig and the Witch
Zebra Girl
Skull: The Mask
Vanquish
Bank Job
Drunk Bus
Homewrecker
State Funeral
Army of the Dead
Initiation
Redoubt
Dinner in America
Death Will Come and Shall Have Your Eyes
PG: Psycho Goreman
Maeve
Sound of Metal
Things of Life, The
Auschwitz Escape, The
Jungle Fever
   
 
Newest Articles
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
   
 
  Carandiru Angry Sardines
Year: 2003
Director: Hector Babenco
Stars: Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos, Milton Gonçalves, Ivan de Almeida, Ailton Graça, Maria Luísa Mendonça, Aida Leiner, Rodrigo Santoro, Gero Camilo, Lázaro Ramos, Ciao Blat, Wagner Moura, Julia Ianina, Sabrina Greve, Floriano Piexito, Ricardo Blat
Genre: Comedy, Drama, HistoricalBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: The Carandiru prison in Brazil was built to house four thousand people, but by the year 1992 it was packed with almost double that, creating a pressure cooker environment that was needing to let off a lot of steam. This would happen in small incidents where a collection of men who had become inured to violence began to express their frustrations by taking it out on their fellow inmates, such as when one found out he was in a cell next to the man who murdered his father, and meant to exact revenge. This was brought to a head when Ebony (Ivan de Almeida), who was one of the gang leaders who kept a form of order, managed to calm everyone down - but there was only so much of this the environment could take.

The Carandiru massacre was one of the most notorious incidents in Brazilian history, of the late twentieth century at least, and it was described from his own point of view and that of the prisoners by the doctor recruited to tell them about AIDS prevention, Dráuzio Varella, played in the film by Luis Carlos Vasconcelos, in a bestselling book. As he had looked after director Hector Babenco too, the filmmaker thought it his duty to relate this tale, or tales as there was more than one account in it, and this film was the result, though at the time it was overshadowed by another true life Brazilian crime effort, City of God, which took the world by storm. This was a lot less flashy, but no less full of character, and repaid the investment such a long movie demanded.

Far from a grindingly depressing list of human rights abuses and man's inhumanity to man for nearly two and a half hours, Babenco made sure there was light and shade, with some scenes of humour and affection to contrast with the sequences where events grew very grim indeed. Most of that was understandably at the end of the story, which depicted the massacre in pitiless detail, though the question was whether the authorities were right in coming down so hard on the prisoners or if they should have found a better method of restoring order than gunning down over a hundred of them. After all, these criminals had shown their victims no mercy, so should they be expected to be responded to in any other way?

The answer to that was very much left to the viewer, but Babenco was keen, as was Varella, to paint a picture of humanity in spite of the dreadful conditions of their lives, both self-inflicted and inflicted on their fellow citizens. Could we really call ourselves civilised when there were murderers and rapists in our society, yet equally could we call ourselves civilised if we made sure their lives were a misery once they had been convicted? If we endorsed the extreme violence used to keep order, then were we harbouring some deeply unlovely aspects within ourselves as well - after all, every criminal believes they are justified when they are committing the acts that get them arrested? Once you had gotten to know the inmates here, or about a dozen of them shown, you began to see them more as three dimensional individuals.

But that did not force you to sympathise any less with their victims, a crucial point that was not glossed over as the dramas unfolded. The film would flit from prisoner to prisoner in the manner of a chatterbox who had too much to say and was falling over themselves to tell you everything they wanted you to know, yet Babenco and his editor Mauro Alice kept this coherent, no mean feat when there was so much to cover even if it did stretch out at a weirdly leisurely pace until the brutal conclusion. Once you had seen this, every point about the perils of the Brazilian prison system would be far clearer to you, such as the threat of AIDS which the doctor tries valiantly to stem though the pressing need for sex education was all too apparent when entering the jail more or less meant you were going to have sexual encounters, or even be raped, therefore something had to be done. This sense of do-gooders' optimism that sure, things were bad, but that did not have to resolve itself in things getting worse, was in every frame of Carandiru, evidence that hope was present even in the direst of situations. Finding and nurturing it was a problem, of course. Music by André Abujamra.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1953 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: