DVD Favela Rising [2006] [Region 1] (DVD 6253937),
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Favela Rising [2006] [Region 1]

  • NR
  • DVD
  • 1 disc
  • Region 1 USA/CA (info)
  • Jeff Zimbalist and Matt Mochary's documentary is a major achievement in nonfiction filmmaking, a vibrant, important work that is as inspiring as it is tragic. The narrative centers on Anderson S, a distinguished-looking young man who grew up in the worst of Rio di Janiero's infamously violent favelas, Vigrio Geral. Though most residents of this extremely impoverished community do their best to cobble together a piecemeal living, the neighborhood is ruled over by murderous drug lords, whose average age of death is between 14 and 25 years old. In 1993, after one of these men murdered a few notoriously corrupt cops, the military police retaliated by brutally, and randomly, murdering 21 innocent favela residents. One of these victims was S's younger brother. Rather than allow the anger and despair to propel him into a place of darkness and revenge, S decided to stop the cycle of violence, using the universal language of music as his conduit to social awareness and rebellion. Mobilizing like-minded friends and musicians, he started a newsletter and a band to perform his upbeat, yet courageously honest music, which featured lyrics about the massacre and police brutality. The filmmakers track S's project as it evolves from a small newsletter to a bona fide national music, with childhood musical education being a top priority.

    Beautifully shot, with visually stunning graphic elements added, FAVELA RISING brings vibrance and color to one of the most downtrodden settings on earth, imbuing its people with honor. The access the filmmakers got to the residents, from regular families to masked men with machine guns, is incredible. In the end though, it is the music that is the real star of the show, which demonstrates the truly remarkable power of song and rhythm to transform lives.
  • Critic Reviews
    4 stars out of 5 -- "It's an inspiring tale, the more so for Sa's poise after fate throws him an ill-deserved elbow just when things are looking up."

    "FAVELA RISING relies on a strait-laced, almost televisual mix of talking heads, musical performance and archive footage....[W]holly inspirational..."
    Sight and Sound

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