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Pixote


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Pixote

Marilia Pera, Jorge Juliao, Gilberto Moura, Joe Nilson dos Santos, Fernando Ramos da Silva. Directed by Hector Babenco. Written by Hector Babenco and Jorge Duran from the Jose Louzeiro novel "Infancia Dos Mortos". Produced by Sylvia B. Naves. Released by New Yorker Video. Brazil (Portuguese). 1981. 127 minutes. Not rated.

Director's profile and filmography, production notes.

Before he became the darling of the American art house circuit with such films as "Kiss of the Spider Woman," "Ironweed" and "At Play in the Fields of the Lord," director Hector Babenco was making equally impressive films in his native Brazil. One of these, the grueling "Pixote," is now on DVD for fans to discover.

In Portuguese, Pixote means "Pee Wee," an apt name for the character played by ten-year-old Fernando Ramos da Silva. One of Brazil's millions of homeless street children, Pixote's experience is here recounted in vivid detail that some will find too harsh and realistic. Crime, brutality, sexual abuse and worse are all a part of what Pixote witnesses as both a child of the street and an inmate at a juvenile detention center. This is no glowing portrait of an innocent young child, however, but a disturbing commentary on a serious social problem in modern Brazil for which neither the country nor Babenco appears to have an answer.

Unlike similar films from France and Italy during the postwar period, there's really not much of a silver lining here on which to hang anything sentimental or nostalgic. It's a blunt, brutal and impeccably crafted film that can only be accused of doing it's job a bit too well. Either way, it's easy to see why Hollywood came calling on Babenco's doorstep soon thereafter.

The DVD transfer is acceptable and even above average in most technical regards with minimal but serviceable extras consisting mainly of notes on the production and Babenco.-By Wade Major


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Cast Stills


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Cast Stills


DVD Menu

Images from the movie

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