Bus 174, History 475, Week 12

In my previous post I discussed of the film City of God had been the most moving film of the semester for me because it made the issues we discussed and read about real and represented a modern problem. If I thought that before, I definitely believe that still and more about this weeks film Bus 174. This documentary film depicted Sandro, the misunderstood and under appreciated street kid who terrorized a bus one December afternoon.

The part of the film which most struck me was the depiction of the ‘invisible’ children. The jugglers in the street and the kids massacred at the church and the children in the park, all with faces blurred to hide who they are. What this really showed was how society ignored these people, these children. Sandro’s act can be understood to be an act of recognition. Even while he was shouting from the bus he wanted people to know that he was at the church massacre and his friends were killed there. In Alberto Ramos’ article “Drive-By Victim” a story about a man who is the victim of a mugging is told. What is important about this short story is not how the man was mistreated but how his captors portrayed themselves as people. Towards the end, the narrator, who was the victim, believes he could have invited these men to breakfast if he had not been so scared at the time. This is because they were not going to kill him, it was not who they were, they had told him. This directly mirrors how Sandro acted in the film. His victims also knew that he was not going to kill him, and those who knew him attested to that fact as well, that he was not a killer. Sandro, and the cab robbers in Ramos’ story are both these ‘invisible’ and ‘forgotten’ children found in Latin America. Society ignores them and their needs, and then blames them for the crime. In the film the social worker reveals that some claim that ‘these street kids need to die in order to clean up the streets…’.

In Alma Guillermoprieto’s article The Heart that Bleeds, a Mexican society is depicted in the midst of great modernity and change. The take away from this article is that these ideas of modernity and globalization diminish these historical and cultural ideas that are unique; and the author feels that mariachi music is the only constant in these modern circles.  Because society is moving rapidly towards these ideas of modernity, the middle and upper classes are the ones who benefit first and most, while the lower classes rarely benefit, if even at all. The lower classes cling to these old ideas because they receive no benefits from the changes.In relation to Bus 174 it is clear that Sandro is the product of a society who ignores its lower class citizens and even when trying to ‘correct’ them they push them farther towards an attitude of anger and rebellion towards authority, especially with the youth correction center.

Most poignant about the film and these articles is that the people from the lower classes did not start out to be criminals and more than likely they did not want to be. Sandro told his ‘adoptive’ mother that he wanted a job and to have a family and home. He was shocked to have his own bed and his own place to call home when she offered it. This individual story: his background and the obstacles he faced; provides insight into many young people and helps to understand this ‘indivisible’ generation that is becoming lost within a society spiraling into modernity. Modernity that only caters to middle and upper classes, who then blame the problems they cannot fix on the very one’s they have continued to ignored on the quest for ‘new’ and ‘change’.