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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
61
Pixote
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on March 12, 2015
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.

This stars Fernando Ramos Da Silva as your main star Pixote who sadly in real life at the age of 19 was killed by Brazilian police in São Paulo. Art sadly came true and ended in a gun shoot out. Sadly Fernando Ramos Da Silva was never able to get out of the slums in real life and seemed to become the part. Although there is a mystery behind his death. Some say he was murdered by the very corrupt police the movie showcases. He often stated that he could never get away from the image of Pixote and that the police could never differentiate his real self from his character or maybe it was him who could not.

This deals with the poverty of street children. Children that end up committing crimes because they are exploited by adults. Most once caught are sent to overcrowded dormitories where they struggle to survive.

On the outside kidnapped, they struggle to find food and are treated as sexual objects. This is a vivid depiction of the world of innocence’s lost.

This holds nothing back. The rape of children, the abuse of children, the lost souls. All seen through the eyes of one young boy named Pixote.

You can finish my review here: http://www.abucketofcorn.com/2013/11/pixote-1981.html?m=0
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on August 5, 2011
A deeply disturbing and heartbreaking neo-realist film, about an abandoned, unwanted 10 year old living first in a reformatory, and then on Brazil's mean streets.

The performances Babenco gets from his non-professional cast are amazing, especially his tiny young lead.

The film almost totally avoids the twin traps of false sentimentality (although it's got plenty of emotion), or needless flashiness. It occasionally feels aimless, but somehow, in the end,
always adds up.

Probably the weakest, most problematic moment is the opening, where the `director' (Babenco, or an actor?) tells us that these actors are real people, gives us some facts and figures about them, and tells that their lives are much like those shown in the film.

It then took me the first few minutes of the movie to forget about that, and get involved with the characters, and not get all intellectually caught up the artistic complexities of `real people' playing a dramatic variation on their lives.

So perhaps I don't consider this terrific, important film a 'perfect' masterpiece as so many do- but I deeply admire it and respect it, would encourage everyone to see it (though you doubtless find the experience upsetting) and look forward to seeing it a third time. You will never be able to look at a poor kid on the street quite the same way again.

And I'm thrilled that after years of waiting, a proper 1:85 release is available. Yes, it's DVD-R, which means it may not play on your computer, theoretically will have a shorter shelf life, and has no extras. But after years where this important, influential film was out of print and very difficult to see - and when you could find it it was a terribly transferred 4:3 VHS based version that someone wanted $60 for - this is a big step in the right direction
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Before diving into the meat of this emotionally disturbing drama, I must ask whether or not the same results could have been achieved by opting for less graphic depictions of the material presented. Remember, this movie is about the life of a ten year old street kid named Pixote (pronounced pee-SHOT) seeing through the eyes of a ten year old street kid, and I don't think the events depicted here could be expressed any more clearly in any other way. How are we to know how shocking his life is unless we are shocked by what he has to live through?

I finished watching this movie without thinking too much about it. The story itself kind of drags from time to time, but I found myself still thinking about it almost a week later. I keep thinking about Pixote's eyes. They are so disturbed yet calm, deep yet shallow, inquisitive yet all-knowing. When I look into those eyes, I see the soul of a child who is greatly disturbed because of sights that are not meant for a ten year old. No actor can portray that. We can only achieve that aura from a child who actually has seen some of the horrors that were depicted in the movie.

We follow the life of Pixote as he is first moved into a reformatory school for boys, and we follow his life as the core group of friends he becomes involved with start getting killed one-by-one as the adults who run the facilities try to save some face. Thinking he is going to be next on the list of hits, and seeing the corruption invovled in running the facility first hand, he does what he has to do in order to survive. So is the life of a child who has grown up all to fast. Then, just as we are coming to accept the fact that the ten year old Pixote has developed the personality and coping mechanisms of an adult, the movie reminds us in a heavy and startling way that young Pixote is still just a child.

This is definitely not a movie for a child to be watching. Such a statement really makes one think about the fact that we don't want our kids watching a movie about the kind of life that young Pixote was forced to live.
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on February 6, 2011
THIS film is the real deal. In a lot of ways, it's the ultimate vision of hell. Right from the start, you feel that you're there in these slums. You can feel the poverty, you can sense the hopelessness, you can see the decadence and debauchery, you can nearly smell the sweat of desperation from these characters. It's such a hellish, intense, cruel landscape that your gut reaction is to write the film off as another examination of terrible street life. There's so much more going on here, however, and the film takes a real brave approach at getting really involved in what's going on mentally as well as from a distance. What struck me immediately, first of all, was how communicative this group of street kids are. They have mastered the art of self-confinement and survival and as a result we can understand whatever progress they make, despite how little they actually get done. These are children that have achieved a sense of personal productivity, and so it's less about being financially sound and more about surviving each day through whatever means necessary. Hygiene, fulfillment, sexuality, and structure are all completely meaningless to them. They clean themselves only when necessary, they sleep and eat only whenever they feel like it, they think nothing of two of their own being gay lovers, and time only represents a means of knowing when the coast is clear.

This portrait of street life is like no other film I have seen, and several characters end up getting killed unexpectedly in incredibly horrible ways. It's a desperate film about desperate street kids who have been forced to adapt to their way of life, despite the risks of violence, disease, police imprisonment, and betrayal. What makes it all work is the lead performance by Fernando Ramos da Silva, who was sadly murdered by police in 1987. The boy led a similar existence to the life of his character in Pixote, and you can see it in his face. He represents a sense of disembodied innocence and charisma that is startling and heartbreaking. People may not realize this, but he really is what is key to the success of the film. Pixote is a representation of what many Brazilian slum kids feel on a day to day basis, which is the desperate need and wanting to have a home and to be safe and happy and loved by someone. He is the figure that is visually telling them that they are not alone. He is, in a lot of ways, the John Wayne of Brazilian cinema. He is brave, charming, full of presence and life, fearless action, fearless emotion, and fearless innocence. He doesn't have the face of a child, he has the face of an outlaw. He is a notably damaged and unhappy child, but though he may look jaded in his face, he is certainly not jaded in his eyes, which are full of simple expression.

I think, in addition to him and his performance, the atmosphere of the film really adds to the success. Much of the film is shot with natural lighting and the camerawork uses a hell of a lot of zooms, panning shots, close-ups, and angled tilts, lending to a real documentary type of feel to the film. None of the actors are really actors, but rather actual street children, and you can totally tell. When acts of murder, rape, theft, and assault are committed they often feel all too genuine in their often confusing desperation, but the intensity of the film comes from the threat of such things rather than the acts themselves. Add to that a simple musical score that has the feel of stock documentary music found in an old library and you have a film that is as real as a film about Brazilian slum life can be without it being a documentary. It is a chilling and amazing film that blows my mind every time I watch it. Pixote is a must-see film for anyone who has a serious passion for cinema and for human life.
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on October 9, 2017
5 stars for the movie 1 star for the disk. I am very disappointed that this movie has not been remastered and is not on Blu-ray. The disk is formatted for a tube television, the subtitles are bad and can't be turned off. The movie is far better than I thought it would be.
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on July 14, 2014
A superb movie depicting what street kids in Brazil go through to survive. I wonder who the real criminals are, where the police are brutal towards the kids, and the cover ups they used. Although inspired by the book Childhood of the Dead, with a lot more in the book and the characters loosely based on the ones in the book.The movie wouldn't have gotten passed the censors if everything was depicted in the book was on screen. I like the vulnerability of the main character, especially when it seemed he had never been weened from his mother properly after his breast suckling moment with the prostitute
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on November 11, 2013
From what I have heard this movie is a fairly realistic account of what life is like for homeless children in Brazil. This movie shows a cold hearted system which produces cold hearted young hoodlums. We watch the 10-year-lod Pixote (a somewhat reserved child, at least compared to some of the others) caught up in a law enforcement sweep of local youth, and placed in a reformatory where abuse by officials and other residents is rampant, and the children practice how to improve their criminal skills. By the end of the movie, and by which time Pixote is back on the streets, Pixote has become a cold hearted criminal.
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on June 27, 2013
In South America, it is a tragic fact of life, minor boys are growing up in abject poverty. Furthermore, because of the respective legal system, Adults exploit minors because of their exemption from prosecution until coming of legal age. Pixote is based
on true facts. This DVD is worth a viewer's time.
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on April 29, 2013
PIXOTE is one of the best films about life and juvenile delincuency in Brazil directed by Hector Babenco who also made KISS OF THE SPIDERWOMAN, an award winner in English with William Hurt and Raul Julia. The tragedy of PIXOTE is that the central character was murdered shortly after the film was released---a powerful drama but not for the weak-stomached or minded!!!
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on October 11, 2014
I loved this on. The realism, the dated, the actuality, the profoundness,.....Well done! It's not for every viewer; and not for youth 12 and under, most likely. If you are a collector, enjoy and worth purchasing for your collection. A classic!
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