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Bus 174
Bus 174
Actors: Sandro do Nascimento, Rodrigo Pimentel, Luiz Eduardo Soares, Anonymous, Maria Aparecida
Directors: Felipe Lacerda, Josť Padilha
Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary, Mystery & Suspense
R     2004     2hr 2min

A shocking, hypnotic look at a real-life disaster. In June 2000, an armed gunman hijacked a bus in downtown Rio de Janeiro. An angry, strung-out former street kid, he spent an afternoon threatening his hostages while the l...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Sandro do Nascimento, Rodrigo Pimentel, Luiz Eduardo Soares, Anonymous, Maria Aparecida
Directors: Felipe Lacerda, Josť Padilha
Creators: Rodrigo Pimentel, Cezar Moraes, Marcelo 'Guru' Duarte, Josť Padilha, Marcos Prado
Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Arts Alliance Amer
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed
DVD Release Date: 07/20/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 2hr 2min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Gretchen D. (Gretchendz) from ADA, MI
Reviewed on 7/9/2009...

Movie Reviews

Chilling, insightful documentary
Roland E. Zwick | Valencia, Ca USA | 11/24/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)


On June 12th, 2000, a man boarded a bus in Rio de Janeiro with the intention of robbing its passengers. When the robbery turned sour, Sandro, the perpetrator, turned the driver and the passengers into hostages, threatening to kill them one by one if his demands weren't met. Carried live on Brazilian television, the event garnered national attention as the tense standoff between Sandro and the police played itself out. "Bus 174," a riveting documentary by Jose Padilha and Felipe Lacerda, is an account of that event.

Not content to merely rehash the details of that day's experience, the filmmakers use their film as an opportunity to examine many of the social ills that laid the groundwork for the tragedy in the first place. The harshest criticism is reserved for the Brazilian government and the Brazilian people who look the other way when it comes to the hundreds of homeless children living on the crowded streets of Rio de Janeiro. Sandro was himself such a child, having witnessed the murder of his mother at a young age then turning to street life and street crime as his only means of survival. We learn that not only is the plight of such people routinely ignored by the vast majority of Rio's residents, but that both citizens and government officials have taken a proactive part in harassing and, in some cases, even killing these children. Sandro is clearly a product of his environment, and his actions on that day largely extend from the lack of a societal connection he's felt all his life. The directors also take swipes at an incompetent, corrupt police force, a brutal, dehumanizing prison system, and a sensation-seeking, voyeuristic public who feeds on the unfolding live tragedy as if it were a Hollywood action movie or some kind of lurid scripted drama.

Interwoven with footage from the actual incident are interviews with various participants in the drama, ranging from police officials to SWAT team members to surviving hostages to tortured prisoners to social workers to psychologists to friends and relatives of Sandro himself. Through these interviews, Padilha and Lacerda weave a tapestry of Brazilian society that spares no one and indicts us all in one way or another. What is most impressive about "Bus 174" is how our emotions get all tied up in a knot, as we find our loyalties shifting back and forth between the various participants in the drama. At one moment we sympathize with Sandro and all the suffering he's experienced, and the next with the innocent hostages who simply want to escape this madman and return to their normal lives. At times, we find ourselves rooting for the befuddled cops, while at others, we are inclined to side with the downtrodden and see the law enforcement officials as the true villains of the piece.

The events that occurred on that day shook a nation, serving as a wakeup call for a society that has attempted to sweep its injustices and social ills under a blood-stained carpet. Yet, this isn't a situation unique to Rio, by any means, for Sandro's story is representative of what happens in all major cities when poverty and misery are allowed to go unchecked and when indifference to suffering becomes the norm of the privileged classes. "Bus 174" is more than just a recounting of an isolated incident; it is a glimpse into the dark heart of Man that we all ignore at our own peril."
Thanks for giving away the ending to an EXCELLENT VIDEO
CriminalJusticeteacherdotcom | TN | 01/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A word of advice: if you are going to review, please DO NOT give away the ending...I'm glad I read all these reviews after I saw the video...part of the film's power is the suspense.
ANYway, I showed this video to my criminal justice class and we did a compare/contrast to the shootings at Columbine high school. Emotions in the class ranged from frustration to anger to sadness and students left the room talking about it!
Although the film may be viewed as biased, there is no question to reality when one sees the interior of the jails and the treatment of the inmates, learns of the lack of training and sees it in the Rio PD, and observes the street kids as they huddle on cement in shabby blankets, sniff paint & glue from a plastic bottle, and don worn clothing with American sports logos. It is gritty, it is suspenseful, it is dark and eye-opeing and everything you would want in a documentary. The needless waste of human beings, the surreal world outside of the US and inside of a Rio jail, and the videos of the streets where "Sergio" survived is in your face without being preachy or judgemental.
I highly recommend this video to other educators, and when you compare it to Columbine high school shootings, it brings it home with a look at culture, law enforcement, government, etc."
Hard-Hitting Documentary
Pearse O'Sullivan | Lexington, KY | 01/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The event this documentary is about, later known as "Bus 174 Affair" is about a youth from the streets who tries to rob a bus load of people and gets caught in the act by police; leading to a standoff.

But this documentary gets deep into the life of the perpatrator Sandro's life, interviewing cellmates, family members, friends, social workers, etc. It goes into the history of streetkids like him, the history of Brazilian poverty. It portrays a very broad picture of Brazilian poverty, Brazilian police brutality and Brazilian street life.

I would recommend this movie to anyone who's interested in the origins of crime, the origins of violence. If you liked the documentary accompanying the City of God DVD then you'll love this documentary as well.

It is a breathtaking documentary that's ending is totally unpredictable and will definately leave you with a lot to think about."