Bus 174

The film Bus 174 was a story of pity and tragedy. After a life of misfortune and misguided development in Brazil, Sandro holds hostages on a bus number 174.  But for what reason exactly?  First of all, he started his life with his mother being murdered in front of his eyes, living on the streets with other ‘street kids’, seeing his fellow friends (street kids) be murdered at gunpoint outside the Cathedral and living a life as a run away.  His life was finally starting to turn around however when he was adopted by a loving woman who wanted the best for him.  He wanted to make something of himself and be on T.V. one day, a real life turn-around.  So if his life was getting better, were his life and the life of a hostage necessary losses of his poor decision on bus 174?


One clear theme of the documentary film was that no one really knew the reason for his actions. In “The Drive-by Victim,” Ramos was chose to be a victim of a robbery according to his clothing type and says “I was wearing a leather jacket that any designer would have rejected at a glance, but that in their eyes must have lent me the bearing of a magnate’s heir who had gotten separated from his bodyguard.”  On the other hand, Sandro held hostages on the bus that was an ordinary bus that people took to work or school.  It typically held no one of high money stature.  But Sandro also never asked for money.  He asked for a grenade and a gun.  Here’s the other mystery…in the film a convicted felon and friend of Sandro said that he could have easily gotten these things without asking the police for them and risking his life.  Sandro also told the girls on the bus another confusing thing.  He said that he never wanted to hurt them, he was not a killer even after a life of crime and witnessing violence himself.


Brazil in the 18th century had great social disorder that related to the growth of wealth and urbanization.  Szuchman says in “The City as Vision- The Development of Urban Culture in Latin America,” that this growth lead to complicated decisions for the government authorities, economic failure and increased poverty.  Sandro was still feeling these effects of Brazil’s economic downfall as he was living on the streets with other kids.  The so said ‘government authorities’ were no help at all with this country-wide issue.  The film said that police officers would often beat the children for fun and abuse them verbally, knowing that they could easily get away with it.  Years later, the government authorities still did not have themselves together in the way they handled the Bus 174 incident.  They did not take a shot at Sandro when they clearly should have to save the hostages.  The worse part about it is that the police were the ones to actually shoot and kill one of the female hostages Sandro brought outside of the bus- an absolute failure and mess!


So, when all taken into consideration, why is it that Sandro took these actions on the bus?  His past history or current struggle with forming to constricts of society?  No one in the film seemed to have any answer for this.  One can only make predictions.