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Audio Commentary with Director and Producers
Additional Scenes: The S.U.D.A.M. Scheme; Tricking of the Frogs, Egg of Columbus; The Complete Ear Reconstruction Surgery; Singing to the Frogs, Bulletproof Glass: A Love Story, The Helicopter Pads of Sao Paulo
Top Customer Reviews
In order to expose the full extent of the problem with crime and corruption in Brazil; this documentary has quite a few interviews with people who each explain their views regarding the situation. We meet a criminal mastermind who has his own organization kidnapping people and holding them for millions of dollars in ransom, cutting off their ears to show he's not about to return his victims until the family pays the ransom and the cops stay out of the way. This criminal tries to explain away his bad deeds by telling the interviewing team that he is in fact a modern day Robin Hood who helps the impoverished people in his slum by providing them with propane and medicine whenever they need it. We also get an extensive interview with a man called Diniz, who chose his frog farm over his former wife. Diniz is apparently in cahoots with a remarkably corrupt politician who has held every political office in Brazil except the presidency, Jader Barbalho. No matter what happens people like Diniz and Jader Barbalho always escape any meaningful or long lasting prosecution and jail time. When Barbalho is in fact arrested after a very lengthy investigation, it's only a very short while before another court finds him not guilty and Barbalho quickly returns to public life with his eyes set on getting back his political power.
Of course, we also meet the "good guys." But there are so few of them!Read more ›
Yet first time director Jason Kohn presents this dark reality with stylistic and slick imagery and music. This dichotomy mirrors the irony of such a grim problem plaguing one of the most beautiful and alluring countries in the world.
Sao Paolo has about 20 million inhabitants, which is more than twice the size of the NY metropolitan area in terms of population. Combined with the fact that the anti-kidnapping unit is only 80 men strong, the authorities are simply too overwhelmed to prevent and respond to these incidents.
Many people associate these problems with Central and South American nations. Yet while Mexico City leads the Western hemisphere in total kidnappings per city, many people would be surprised to learn that Phoenix, Arizona has recently become the number two city in terms of kidnapping incidents. So this documentary highlights a problem that is relevant for Brazil as well as for the USA.Read more ›
The documentary paints an amazing portrait of Sao Paolo, whose class system seems largely the result of centuries of corruption. One of the most interesting aspects of the film is a comparison that is unusually never directly pointed out. The frogs being farmed are cooped up, and will occasionally eat one another. In a film highlighting people living in a crime-ridden and impoverished city, the subtle comparison fits perfectly.
The real footage of kidnap victims is totally raw, and the interview with the kidnapper is both profound and gritty. The documentary is shot and framed well, and offers some amazing views of the good and bad that Sao Paolo has to offer. If you enjoy a documentary that makes you think, you should absolutely add Manda Bala to your collection.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a very good and different reportage about kidnaping in S.Paulo - Brazil. You have to buy it to see.Published on December 24, 2011 by Jose Antonio Goncalves
This film uses interviews with people who at first don't really seem to have any connection with each other. Read morePublished on June 28, 2009 by I love movies
The documentary was very interesting, and had the potential to be worthy of five stars, but I was dumbfounded as to why so many important interviews had no subtitles or... Read morePublished on June 1, 2009 by Patrick
I don't know if there are recognized 'genres' of documentary, outside the general grouping of history, or nature, and the like, but there is definitely a subset of these films that... Read morePublished on April 22, 2009 by Bryan Byrd
This is some bold and brilliant stuff from director Jason Kohn. It's an insightful (and at times shocking) meditation on the cycle of violence and corruption in São Paulo and... Read morePublished on February 9, 2009 by Andy Orrock
Beautiful. Humanize human beings. I wouldn't recommend to those who live in Sao Paulo or has love ones there. Read morePublished on September 16, 2008 by B. Tavares
The first-time filmmaker makes a courageous and largely successful attempt to weave together the stories of many Brazilians from different walks of life. Read morePublished on July 22, 2008 by jtherkel
I was a bit unsure of this one. Although I have found myself being drawn into them once I start them, I have never gotten very excited about watching documentaries. Read morePublished on June 19, 2008 by Emery Martin-snyder