Marks Blog 2011-04-05 22-24-00

Bus 174 was an unbelievably piercing documentary created by Jose Padilha and Felipe Lacerda. It details the story of a young man named Sandro do Nascimento who, on June 12th of 2000, captured and held hostage a bus full of people. Part of what made this movie interesting is how it correlates to the film “The city of God” of last week. In that film, we saw how the murders and other crimes increased as the drug uses were increasing. The criminals occasionally committed crimes and murders for random reason, but mostly it was to either gain power or to gain more money. Bus 174 tells the story, in a way, from the other side of the drug war. What is portrayed, is a young man who is more or less broken. People look at what he did and judge him for the horrible actions that he committed. What Bus 174 does, is give an explanation for why he was who he was, and why he did what he did. Drugs had ruined what had once been the life of a promising young boy. He had people who were interested in investing in him, but his addiction to glue and later to stronger drugs ruined his future. While he was responsible for his actions and choices, the way that city life in Latin America had transformed, put pressures on young impressionable kids like him. Big impersonal cities with slums where drugs are rampant and families were torn apart by poverty preyed on young promising kids like himself. In Mark D. Szuchman’s work, “The city as Vision-The Development of Urban Culture in Latin America” he wrote that cities had shattered families, traditions, and small communities, which, in turn, have had to be reconstituted in the face of considerable odds and in an incomparably more impersonal environment.” (Page 25) Add to it the fact that he saw his own mother being murdered, then later witnessed the needless murdering of many of his friends, a picture begins to form of a young man who has been abused by his surroundings. True to the form of the rising cities, he was then mistreated in the prison system that was supposed to be for rehabilitation of guys like him. Instead he was the victim of yet another injustice. Szuchman addressed the public system when he wrote that, “It is one of the supreme ironies that urban areas with concentrations of poverty stricken folk and people of color are today effectively forbidden to public safety officers, the elites’ instrument of power and authority.”(Page 25) The people who were supposed to help a young Sandro were the same ones who were later responsible for having made the whole standoff last longer than it should have, and end it a much worse way that it had to. At the end of the day the movie is a great representation of the system that most Latin American countries deal with. There is a self-perpetuating system of breakdown, that continually creates stories like Sandros.