Thesis: History of Film in Latin America

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History Of Film In Latin America

The countries of Latin America have experienced a constant fall with the coming of the second half of the twentieth century when concerning their economy. Things had gotten worse and people steadily began to feel the soreness of poverty. The poor people of Latin America lived in ghetto-like neighborhoods where life had been a living hell, many of them turning to crime in order to get food.

Matters seemed to become better with the Americans building factories in some of the countries in Latin America because of the cheap working force. However, after moving their businesses in Asia where the wages paid were even lower, the Americans involuntary made life worse for the Latin Americans that lost their jobs.

The diary of Carolina Maria de Jesus, "Child of the Dark," is one of the most renowned and shocking accounts of how poor people lived in Latin America. Having gone through all of the risks of providing shelter and food for her and her children, de Jesus had chosen to give the world a glimpse at how life was for the unfortunate.

De Jesus presents in the book various methods of earning money like for those poor people. Low-class people used the selling of any exploitable thing for earning a living. As it is common among people that live in such conditions, matters had been critical, with most of them having adapted their nature to the situation. Fights, loots, and murders have been frequently heard of in Carolina's neighborhood, where living through the day had been one of the hardest things to do. Being without a husband or partner, Carolina had been harassed every day by other women in her vicinity for all kinds of false reasons. Though there had not been a man in Carolina's house to support her family, she had been envied by all other women in the community. The reason for the envy had been that she had managed to provide food for her children without having to bear with a husband to treat her as a slave. Men in the poor areas of Latin America had been accustomed to beating their wives and making them beg in order to bring money into the household. In Carolina's opinion, one of the worst things about being poor had not been the fact that food and clothes lacked, but the lack of dignity. "I am not unhappy with the work I do. I am used to being dirty. I've carried paper for eight years. What disgust me is that I have to live in a favela"(Carolina Maria, de Jesus). Apparently, life in the favelas (ghettos) had been a nightmare for the weaker people, as they had no one to turn to and the tougher people of the ghetto could practically pick on them at any time.

Carolina Maria de Jesus' book displays a world of misery and fighting for survival in the God-forgotten poor communities of Sao Paulo. Consequent to Carolina's book, which had been written during the 1950s, film directors had conducted the making of several films to present the harsh life from Latin-American ghettos.

City of God" is a motion picture which, similar to Carolina Maria de Jesus' book, is meant to show the world an episode of the lives of those living in Latin-American poorer districts. This time the action is in the slums of Rio de Janeiro in a somewhat identical environment to that from Carolina's book. The difference is that the action in the movie seems to happen in a more recent time period, different from the 50's like scenery.

The Rio de Janeiro slum has well built buildings, most probably raised by the country's officials in order to give either homeless or poor people a decent place to live in. Again, one can observe that the environment in the ghetto pushes people to commit crimes and hoping to a better life out of the poor community.

Due to our era's technology, the clever thinking of the producer, and the good impersonation of the actors, the movie strikes right into the heart of its audience. The script describes the life of a child, nicknamed Rocket, living in the ghetto and deciding to earn an honest living after witnessing the crimes that his brother and his friends had been doing. The robbing of a hotel and killing of several of its clients by Rockets' brother and his gang lead the police on a chase after the criminals. Finally caught after one of the gang's members named Lil'Ze betrays the others, Rocket's brother gets killed. Realizing that the ghetto would only bring trouble, Rocket chooses to earn a living by being a photographer. Ironically, wherever he goes, Rocket stumbles into Lil'Ze that had become a drug dealer, by the time.

The crimes in the Rio de Janeiro poor neighborhoods soon become visible and apparently without any chance of being stopped, as policemen sell guns to drug dealers and the latter doing their business without the police interfering in any way. In the hustle, Rocket manages to get a job at a local paper by selling photographs with Lil'Ze and other members of the gang.

Predictably, as almost all criminals, Lil'Ze gets in a drug war with a rival trafficker and the two gangs unleash hell upon the ghetto. After several clashes, the fait of the war is decided as Lil'Ze gets killed being replaced by another drug king in the ghetto.

From a certain point-of-view, Rocket is the narrator of the story and, like Carolina, exposes the atrocities in the ghetto. Things are somewhat different because while Carolina had kept a journal to show people what happened, Rocket had his pictures to show the violence in the slum. Another factor which differentiates "City of God" from "Child of the Dark" is that the movie presents an era subsequent to the book and it shows a lot of new threats (drugs, guns, a more evolved crime level) that the ghetto had by the time.

Rocket's character is impressive to the audience who sees his amazing determination he has to change his life. Rocket proves that one can go through great horrors and suffering in order to avoid having an immoral life next to the other criminals in the Latin-American ghetto.

Another movie created to present the life of the poor people in Latin America is "Bus 174," which, in contrast with the previous two cases, presents a real life event. The movie is intended to condemn the Brazilian system, which is presumably responsible for molding the life of young poor people into a criminal way of life.

The action of the movie had been made according to a real life event which had happened in Brazil on the 12 of June, 2000. At the time, a thief had attempted to rob a bus, but, after failing, he decided to take the passengers onboard hostage. 21-year-old Sandro is shown as going through critical moments while thinking about all the options that he has of escaping.

The film illustrates the life of Sandro from an early age as he lives in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. At the age of 6, he witnesses his mother being murdered by a robber and later decides to live in the streets. Joining other homeless children, Sandro finds shelter in the vicinity of a church, but, shortly after, their refuge is being destroyed and most of the children killed by what people believe to have been policemen. After several minor crimes, Sandro is captured by the authorities and sent to jail where he spends a part of his life. Out of prison, compelled by the need of food and by his poverty, Sandro chooses to rob a bus in order to make some money. As the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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History of Film in Latin America.  (2008, December 5).  Retrieved May 25, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/history-film-latin-america/68162

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"History of Film in Latin America."  Essaytown.com.  December 5, 2008.  Accessed May 25, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/history-film-latin-america/68162.