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Pixote: A Lei do Mais Fraco

Like a bullet to the heart, Hector Babenco’s visceral portrait of the brutalisation of children and teenagers has lost none of its power.

Dir Hector Babenco
Prod Sylvia Naves, Paulo Francini, Jose Pinto
Scr Hector Babenco, Jorge Duran
With Fernando Ramos da Silva, Jorge Julião, Gilberto Moura
Prod Co Embrafilme, HB Filmes

Made in the spirit of Italian neo-realism, Pixote follows a group of boys from the horrors of reform school to their escape onto the streets of São Paulo, where the only economies open to them are sex and drugs. Abandoned by those meant to protect them, the boys are forced to improvise to survive. Gay Lilica (Jorge Julião) wants love, but finds himself playing surrogate mother to the group, while 11-year-old Pixote (Fernando Ramos da Silva) briefly finds succour at the breast of prostitute Sueli (a magnificent performance from Marilia Pêra). But throughout, it’s the empty stare of Pixote that penetrates deepest, especially in the knowledge that the young actor was shot and killed by the police just a few years after the film was made, when he was just 19.

Robin Baker

Additional information

Restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and Cineteca di Bologna at L’Immagine Ritrovata in association with HB Filmes, Cinemateca Brasileira, and JLS Facilitações Sonoras. Restoration funded by the George Lucas Family Foundation.

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