Bus 174

The film Bus 174 was a documentary that focused on the events surrounding the hijacking in 2000 of a public bus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The film documents the events that occurred from multiple perspectives. The filmmakers interviewed the hostages about the events that occurred and also examine some of what could have been contributing factors that caused the former street kid Sandro to decide to become violent. In the film it looks at the conditions and Sandro grew up in, in terms of the choices he made and also the condition of society as a whole in Rio de Janeiro. As a street kid Sandro is left to fend for himself but aside from the lack of compassion many members of society show these children they are also treated with disdain and sometimes even violence. Stories of being beaten by the police, who often abuse their positions of power to being scared to sleep on the streets at night due to fear of having their skulls crushed by rocks were prevalent throughout the film. A main message this film communicates is the lack of respect present in Rio’s society for fellow human beings. Instead of just being indifferent to others plights, people were violent and cruel towards them. Another key factor present in this film though was the concept that it was very difficult to make this story black and white with a good and a bad guy. While the police were corrupt often the street kids turned into drug dealers and murders, with actions that were just as disturbing as those of the police for example in the Candelaria Church Massacre in 1993. This film commented the injustices present in Brazilian society.
                       The evolution of cities as a whole and their turn towards corruption was discussed in the article “I Saw a City Invincible”. While originally cities had positive connotations the influx of large masses of people from the countryside due to Latin American cities refusing to share their assets with the countryside resulted in increased crime rates, poverty and loss of traditions. This article specifically mentions the evolution of the ‘culture’ of cities and how as they continue to grow and evolve, in Latin America they also continue to become more divided.
                The other article “The Drive By Victim” by Alberto Salcedo Ramos tells of his experience in a taxi cab mugging. Similar to the situation present in the film he was taken hostage in his taxi and eventually robbed. This shows a specific example of the changing culture and atmosphere in cities that the previous article discussed. While Ramos was not seriously injured he was beaten and threatened, all because he dared to take a taxi at night.
              These events comment on the need for a change in society, especially in urban areas. While Sandro’s story was shocking, it was just one of many similar cases of a child being abandoned by society. I do not believe that only society is to blame though, as the “City Invincible” article stated the growth of urban areas caused in many cases the demise of family units. This contributes to the original lack of stability and support in kid’s lives. It is hard to blame society for being unwilling to accept the actions of thievery and sometimes even violence that are more prevalent from these street groups but at the same time a solution needs to be formed to improve conditions in urban areas instead of tolerating the extreme acts of violence that are occurring.