Carandiru: Marlene Bergamo
Owen Gleiberman
May 12, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Carandiru

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
145 minutes
Limited Release Date
05/14/04
performer
Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos, Gero Camilo, Milhem Cortaz, Aida Leiner
director
Hector Babenco
distributor
Sony Pictures Classics
author
Hector Babenco, Fernando Bonassi, Victor Navas
genre
Foreign Language, Drama

We gave it a B

Director Hector Babenco expresses a powerful kinship with those who have turned against society because they believe that society has turned against them. In Carandiru, which takes its title from the giant São Paulo prison fortress that closed in 2002, Babenco returns to the South American street roots of his early (and best) films ”Pixote” and ”Kiss of the Spider Woman.” He shows us life in jail, which is less rigid than in American incarceration dramas like ”Oz” or ”Animal Factory,” and he also shows us the world of squelched opportunity outside it, defining even murderers by something beyond their criminality. ”Carandiru” lays on the compassion a little thick, yet its heartfelt squalor stays with you.

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