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The film stars 10-year old Fernando Ramos da Silva, who was an illiterate kid plucked from the streets of Sao Paulo. At the beginning of the film, a judge has been murdered and kids are rounded up and sent to a reformatory. Pixote witnesses a brutal rape his first night. He quickly adapts to the chaotic and often inhumane atmosphere. Corrupt police pin the crime on one of Pixote's friends and brutally murder him. They pin his murder on a second friend, and proceed to kill him.
Pixote and friends escape to the streets of Sao Paulo where they resume their life of crime. The friends are Lillica, a transvestite soon to turn 18, Dito, Lillica's lover and ring-leader, and Chico. The friends meet Cristal, a drug dealer who sends them to Rio to sell cocaine. A drug deal gone awry costs Chico his life and Pixote kills the perpetrator, a prostitute named Debora. The three boys hook up with another prostitute named Sueli, played by Marilia Pera in an unforgettable performance.
There is a sadness in Pixote's eyes that is unforgettable. He accepts his descent into hell in a matter-of-fact manner. Viewers will have difficulty deciding whether he sympathetic or not. He is only ten, has a baby face, and faces horrible circumstances. At the same time, he is an eager participant in the crimes that take place. The portrayal of what Brazil's awful conditions do to the young and innocent is heartbreaking.
[Pixote: A Lei do Mais Fraco]
(Brazil - 1981)
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Theatrical soundtrack: Mono
Hector Babenco's third feature provides a harrowing and squalid glimpse into an alien culture beset by an all-consuming poverty. Chronicling the life and crimes of ten-year-old homeless boy Pixote (pronounced 'Pi-chott' or 'Pi-chott-ay', and played with remarkable sincerity by non-professional actor Fernando Ramos da Silva) in the slums of Sao Paulo, it follows him down the path of petty thievery to his brief stay in a reformatory where violence is a way of life, to his eventual escape and descent into murder. The only shafts of light are provided by his friends, fellow outcasts whose attempts to rise above their appalling circumstances are almost inevitably doomed to failure, and by an alcoholic prostitute (the luminous Marilia Pera) who unwittingly precipitates their downfall. In the end, only one of the characters emerges from the debris, returning to the slums where life - such as it is - goes on much the same as before. It isn't a pretty picture, nor can it ever be.
Though depressing and unlikeable, PIXOTE is virtually critic-proof. Based on a novel by Jose Louzeiro, Babenco's film offers an outraged response to the crushing hardships suffered by millions of homeless street kids in Sao Paulo who turn to crime to sustain themselves and are exploited by criminal gangs because of a loophole in Brazilian law which forbids the prosecution of minors. Most scandalous of all are the corrupt police officers who participate in the murder of countless street children every year, treating it as a form of 'pest control'.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'n never forgotten this movie when it was first released and purchased it as my birthday gift to myself. It is now part of my permanent foreign movies collection.Published 8 months ago by Rosalyn Durham
Truly a chilling, and vivid account of Brazil's homeless children and teenagers. How they are used by corrupt police and other criminal organizations to commit crimes. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Seeking New Things