Synopsis by Josh Ralske
In June of 2000, a young homeless man, evidently high on drugs, made a failed attempt to rob a bus in a wealthy Rio de Janeiro neighborhood. When his plans went awry, the young man, Sandro do Nascimento, armed with a pistol, took the bus passengers hostage. Soon, cops and reporters surrounded the bus. A SWAT team arrived. About four hours later, the incident came to a horrific and tragic end. Filmmaker José Padilha's documentary, Bus 174, explores the events of that day. The film uses a great deal of file footage of the event, in addition to interviews with hostages, policemen, reporters, and others connected to the incident and to the unstable and desperate young man at its center. The filmmakers explore social conditions in the city, along with the personal traumas that led Sandro to his desperate act. As a child, Sandro had witnessed the brutal murder of his mother, and had subsequently found himself on the streets at an early age. In 1993, he survived the infamous massacre of homeless youths at Candelária, which is widely thought to have been committed by police officers. Sandro was also imprisoned at a youth facility, and in a city jail, and the appalling conditions in those prisons are also depicted in the film. Bus 174 was shown at New Directors/New Films in 2003.
bus, hijacker, Brazil, class-system, crime, mass-media, poverty, racial-tension