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Manda Bala

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

DVD Special Features:

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

Spanish Subtitles

Amazon.com

Manda Bala, Jason Kohn's first feature, is a strikingly beautiful and well-constructed documentary about cycles of violence and how it affects both victims and perpetrators. Filmed in Sao Paulo and banned in Brazil, the film consists of segments in which victims of kidnapping, politicians, policemen, and criminals are interviewed about crime and corruption in Brazil. Although it contains nearly surreal content, so shocking is it to discover this rampant criminal activity, its intelligent, cohesive portrayal of the situation avoids morbidity. English translators sit with interviewees, relaying in chilling detail stories that defy logic. Interviewee Christina recalls atrocities inflicted upon her by kidnappers, while footage of her miraculously talented plastic Surgeon, Dr, Juarez Avelar, shows how he helps those scarred. Mr. M, a businessman, enlists in a course about driving one's bulletproof car, while Magrinho, a masked drug trafficker, discusses the Robin Hood ideal behind kidnapping. Though no direct solutions are proposed, Manda Bala points fingers at corrupt politicians, illustrating how their greed leads to civilian poverty, and how this destitution leads to crime. --Trinie Dalton

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Jader Barbalho, Claudio Fonteles, Helbio Dias, Juarez Avelar, Paulo Lamarao
  • Directors: Jason Kohn
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: English, Portuguese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: WEA
  • DVD Release Date: April 8, 2008
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0012OSGV8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,247 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Manda Bala" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Director Jason Kohn does an amazing job demonstrating the tie that binds a variety of strangers in Sao Paolo, from frog farmers and plastic surgeons, to kidnapping victims and the city's police. It's the butterfly effect at it's darkest.

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.
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By Greg on March 10, 2008
Format: DVD
Normally I don't watch documentaries, but I was sent this one as a screener and it was terrific ! ! It was a winner at this years Sundance Film Festival and features some of the best most honest interesting interviews I have ever seen. It manages to show all sides to the business of kidnapping in Brazil, from victim to perpetrator, to police & prosecutors to the corrupt judicial officials who refuse to convict government officials who break the law of the land.

Well worth the purchase price and the investment of time to watch.
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Format: DVD
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. I was a bit apprehensive about one of them being my first Spout screener because I'm not sure I know how to review a documentary. They usually seem to be the type of film that you would see when an interest in that subject already exists. Oh well, I digress, it had all the makings of something I'd be interested in: fascinating synopsis, good cover art, frogs and subtitles.

First and foremost about this movie had to be the cinematography. This is not a trait you would necessarily associate with docs but this one just set the bar. The overall scenery was gorgeous, and some of the angles they used with the high speed camera, especially at the frog farm, peaked my interest. I also liked the ear replacement scene in the dimmed operating room.

I liked the music selection as well. I did think the sound editing was a little confused. It seemed that parts had the background music so loud that you couldn't really hear the interviews. Of course, I don't speak Portuguese anyway so I'm not sure exactly what I'm complaining about.

This movie also has a bit of footage from ransom tapes that are mixed in. As the film progresses, this clips continue to get more and more graphic. It actually is a little surprising that the director chose to put some of the more gut-wrenching scenes in because it comes up so gradually. I didn't find this to be overly sensationalistic and if you are squeamish, you have plenty of time to close your eyes.

The problem I had with this documentary was that for the vast majority of it, I wasn't sure of its thesis.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film uses interviews with people who at first don't really seem to have any connection with each other. There is the frog farmer, the plastic surgeon, the businessman with the bulletproof car, and the policeman, among others. As the film really gets underway we quickly see how these stories paint a vivid and shocking portrait of the terrifying kidnapping phenomena in Sao Paulo. Parallel to this story we get an insight into how alleged corruption diverting funds earmarked to help the poor in the northeast into the pockets of wealthy politicians contributes to the problem, since it is apparently often poor people from the northeast that migrate to Sao Paulo and perpetrate these horrific kidnappings in the hopes of making their fortunes. One of the most shocking scenes in the film for me was of a group of ragged-looking kids in the northeast (and I mean children ten years old and younger) "playing" at kidnapping on the streets. A truly shocking yet informative film. Highly recommended.
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Format: DVD
The first-time filmmaker makes a courageous and largely successful attempt to weave together the stories of many Brazilians from different walks of life. The stories of corruption and violence make you despair, but the rich cinemetography and soundtrack of 1960s Brazilian music reveal a love for the country and hope for the future.

It's interesting that the movie City of God was a fictional story shot in a documentary style with digital video. Manda Bala was a non-fiction documentary shot with film, which was more labor-intensive but resulted in better images.
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Beautiful. Humanize human beings. I wouldn't recommend to those who live in Sao Paulo or has love ones there. Great film about Brazil' system, economy, politics made by a foreigner. Surprised me.
Must see film for ALL Brazilian people.
The truth is not always easy to be faced but is necessary.
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