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Rio’s Favelas in Recent Fiction and Film: Commonplaces of Urban Segregation
marta peixoto


Marta Peixoto, associate professor of Brazilian literature at New York University, is the author of books on Clarice Lispector and João Cabral de Melo Neto, as well as several articles on Brazilian poetry and fiction. She is working on a book on Rio de Janeiro that examines urban segregation and class relation in literature, film, and popular culture produced since the mid-1980s.

he metaphor of the cidade partida (fragmented or broken city), which has been used to characterize Rio de Janeiro’s darker aspect—its stark inequality, its class conflicts and vio-­ lence—is not new but has gained, in the last couple of decades, wide-­ spread circulation. Since the end of the military dictatorship in 1985, when formal democratic practices such as free speech and open elec-­ tions were reestablished, it has become more obvious than ever that equal citizenship rights for all, de facto rather than on paper, are still an elusive ideal in Rio and in Brazil as a whole (as in many other places). The neoliberal economic policies of recent decades, with cur-­ tailed social spending and privatization of ­state-­owned property, have increased poverty in Rio significantly. The arrival of the ­large-­scale commercialization of cocaine since the late 1970s has deepened urban divisions and intensified violence. The retail end of the drug business often takes place in poor neighborhoods, or favelas.1 But the violence that prevails in Rio is not limited to warring drug factions or their conflicts with the police. It also inheres in unemployment and inad-­ equate education and health care for the poor, as well as in severely flawed security, judiciary, and penal systems. All in all, the urban experience is fraught with violence and the fear of violence for all residents—though here too there is inequality, since this violence and fear affect some segments of the population far more than others. In Rio—a city of six and a half million inhabitants, or over ten million if the entire metropolitan area is counted—there are currently some six hundred favelas and low-­income projects, which continue to receive new rural migrants. They house about a third of the urban population and have been growing at a faster rate than the middleand ­upper-­class areas. As a phenomenon parallel to the growth of pov-­


[  © 2007 by the moder n language association of america  ]

and physical proxim-­ ity of disparate social and economic circum-­ stances. as the place par excellence of bandits and idlers. the wealthy drive armored vehicles. The image of the favela as setting for ­ lively cultural activities. The favelas on steep hills have breathtaking views of mountains. in Rio a marked segregation coincides with physical proximity. to some. This situ-­ ation too is not recent. a refusal to take full measure of the poverty that is obviously right there. In the divided city of our day. On the negative side. To the degree they can afford it. having positive and negative sides. segregation. As Verônica Dias puts it. as a promiscuous heap of people without morals (14). the walls of the city. the favela has held an important position in the imaginary of the city. be-­ ing shown as a place sometimes ‘close to heaven’ [ pertinho do céu] (as an old samba goes). Motivated by fear and mistrust. those divisive barriers and discourses erode the citizenship rights of the poorer residents and diminish for all the vital-­ ity of the public space. the favela has inhabited the urban imaginary as a locus of illnesses and epidemics. With alarming frequency. in turn promote fear and mistrust. with a specific history. Since the 1920s. While the favela plagued by epidemics has mostly vanished. such as the samba and Brazilian Carnival. In this context of increasing poverty. in each city. close to heaven. material and discursive. Its image tends to be double. While the growth of slums. fictional and nonfictional narratives about Rio’s less fortunate have proliferated. bay. although these art forms were ­co-­opted and programmatically used to construct the myth of an amply inclusive national identity in the . Although many of the well-off conduct their lives in gated and protected spaces. this segregation and the discourses that surround it are not of recent date. the limited level space between sea and hills has been taken by the ­well-­off. with regard to film.1   ] Marta Peixoto 171 erty and violence in recent decades. it is nevertheless lived in particular ways. her book on the discursive practices that supported the building of walled enclaves in São Paulo of the 1980s and 1990s. This situ-­ ation has a paradoxical double effect: it ac-­ centuates the perception of social inequities by the poorer residents but also fosters a ­selfprotective blindness among the middle and ­ upper classes. the drug trafficker and his gang replace the vagabonds and idlers of for-­ mer years in this image. and divided cities is a global phe-­ nomenon (see Davis). and often shop and work in enclosed structures. within as well as on the periphery of the city. In many neigh-­ borhoods. is benign enough. blocked off from the street and protected by private security guards. physical barriers increasingly demarcate social spaces. its role as setting for the figurative epidemic of violence makes the im-­ age of hell or war zone unfortunately not ­farfetched. and violence is raised to new levels of sophistication. fortified enclaves. The positive and negative commonplaces about the favela have a basis in actual so-­ cial and cultural dynamics and even topo-­ graphic location. As Teresa Caldeira argues in City of Walls. whereas the poorer communities occupy the steep slopes and the less desirable land. In its positive image. Because of its topography—the city is hemmed in by the sea and interrupted by numerous abrupt hills—the residences of the poor and the rich are and have been im-­ mediately juxtaposed in Rio. “The Rio hills have already been portrayed in a wide variety of cinematic images. violence. where the poor live almost exclusively on the periphery. the film and publishing industries have found a thriv-­ ing market among them for cultural products that represent impoverished spaces. and sea and seem. sometimes ‘close to hell’” (106). In Rio. Unlike other Brazilian and Latin American cities. throughout the twentieth century. the favela is a vital place for the creation and performance of popular art forms.122. as Alba Zaluar and Mar-­ cos Alvito observe. middle and upper classes live in gated residences.

Most of these works view the favelas from outside. at the time of the novel’s publication. multiple perspective.2 Paulo Lins’s novel Cidade de Deus (City of God [1997]). listen to imported mu-­ sic. Lins. on the community it depicts. gasoline. Lins also draws on actual ethnographic work. they point to its reliance on interviews and newspaper accounts as a foundation for its claim to authority and underline the author’s experience as someone who. they watch television. third-­person narrator whose educated . in the narrative the only voices inside the favela oc-­ cur in dialogues and passages that depict the interiority of the characters with little depth. internal and external. which he uses as his title and setting. so the novel indirectly comments on an enduring predicament. draws material for the novel in part from his observations as a resident. a mode of killing used among traf-­ fickers in recent years. In this essay I consider the circulation and effects of these commonplaces. who grew up in the ­low-­income proj-­ ect in Rio called Cidade de Deus. as well as on research in archives of the main Rio newspapers. Lins observes in a 2003 interview that “if I were to write about the way things are today. all set in Rio. beginning perhaps with naturalist novels. however. heaven and hell. if not a partici-­ pant or direct witness. although the novel-­ ist lays claim to a view from the inside. offers a fasci-­ nating combination of perspectives. They form politically active community organizations that demand citizenship rights. lived in Cidade de Deus while the drug gangs grew. On what basis do these works establish their claims to authenticity? What are the problems and limits of such represen-­ tations? How effective are such discourses as exposés of or interventions in lives marked by poverty? I will contrast stereotyped and therefore politically inert depictions and tex-­ tual or visual tactics that resist stereotyping and orient us toward praxis. That the myth served to hide from view real rifts and inequities does not entirely undercut the role of popular cultural forms as an effective pal-­ liative for class and racial tensions. . have arisen in the favela. Yet the double image of the favela. marked by a kind of overlapping between the ethnographic and the fictional” (62). continues to permeate all kinds of fictional and nonfictional discourses. . and buy consumer goods as best they can. From this layered. such problems continued their unabated growth. In 1997.172 Rio’s Favelas in Recent Fiction and Film: Commonplaces of Urban Segregation [  P M L A 1930s under the Vargas regime. and I address issues that arise in aesthetic repre-­ sentations of urban “territories of poverty” (Bentes 122). By crafting a fictional construct intended to throw a harsh light on a particular set of alarming social circumstances. however. and its residents participate more actively in mainstream society and mass cul-­ ture.3 As a research assistant who conducted interviews for projects of the urban anthropologist Alba Zaluar concern-­ ing the drug trade. in recent fiction and film. The novel is told by a detached. It also merges the factual and the fictional. in which the line between fact and fiction cannot be deter-­ mined and which aim to have the impact of an exposé. such as rap and funk. nonpersoni-­ fied. New art forms. and two film documentaries that have come out in the last fifteen years. a fiction film. Curiously. Lins aligns his narrative with a long tradition of hybrid forms. charting the growth of the drug business and the intensification of the violence it entails. City of God narrates the prevalence and changing nature of crime in the housing project from the late 1960s to the 1980s. I would start the book with a pile of rubber tires. But the novel also participates in a wider trend in Brazilian urban literature that Flora Süssekind characterizes as “an intense neodocumentalism . as well as attempts to go beyond them. including police corrup-­ tion and brutality. The afterword and the promotional mate-­ rial for the novel insist that it elaborates facts. and someone being burned alive” (Rohter). I examine two novels.

1   ] Marta Peixoto 173 Portuguese sets him apart from the idiosyn-­ cratic. it makes no mention. the reader feels confined in an airless world of repeated aggressive confrontations fueled by greed. The novel also disregards larger polit-­ ical forces. re-­ venge.” “the criminal. as actors. and vital favela coexisting with the hell of the drug trade. among other departures from the novel that inspired it. the narrative focus reaffirms their perspective in its uninterest in female trajectories or subjec-­ tivities. dis-­ appear after their husbands or lovers die. gaining for him a coveted internship and allowing him to escape the favela. slang-­inflected street language of the favela youth and the drug gangs. takes on the character of a phantas-­ magoria. Also reinforcing an inside view is the use. The crimes committed by police officers are as glaring and brutal as those of the drug traffickers. involving rape and humiliation. Braulio Montovani’s excellent screenplay assigns the narrative voice to a favela resident named Rocket. and troubled masculinity. engaging. which reinstitute the myth of Brazil as a ra-­ cial democracy. the narrative voice. One of the story lines traces Rocket’s ex-­ ceptional trajectory: by a series of lucky cir-­ cumstances. In its strong focus on sexual scenes. the novel’s perspective is relentlessly male. gor-­ geous seaside views.122. While the precisely reproduced ghetto language cre-­ ates verisimilitude. The only female interiority the novel lingers on is that of a transvestite. Absorbing. the escape of our sympathetic ­narrator-­guide provides a happy ending of sorts. for instance. often performed by demonized actors. his empathy for the targeted victims prevents him from going ahead with any of these crimes. and ­color-­blind erotic attachments. of actual favela residents. The escalating violence of the drug business and diminishing age of those involved in it make a grim plot. trained by the filmmakers. Photographic images of the worst that the favela has to offer become his ticket for getting out of it. Women characters.” “the brute. and abuse women. features an internal view as a key structural element. where the narrative voice itself is a further symptom of the social derangement inherent in the events recounted. and the proliferating collage of violent episodes confirms and expands on television and print media coverage of favela violence as spectacle. ­fast-­paced cinematography.” and so on reinforces this separation. in its relent-­ lessness. This good-­tempered. with only two exceptions. With its dazzling. such as the dismemberment of a newborn or the burying alive of a cheating wife—unmoors the novel from its literary project as exposé. Fernando Meirelles’s film City of God (2003). of-­ ten violent. neglect. of the dictatorship in effect at the time. with its correct grammar and ample lexicon. enticing musical sound track. but ultimately unchallenging. The frequent and reduc-­ tive designation of characters as “the outlaw. the film includes a good dose of the paradise of an artistically creative. The pileup of graphically violent episodes. While the violence of the drug wars grows more and more intense as the film progresses (the control of one drug gang winds up in the hands of teenage and prepubescent boys in a final scene). em-­ phasizes social distinctions and establishes a disparaging perspective on the social uni-­ verse being viewed. nonjudgmental young man dreams of a career in photogra-­ phy and tries to steer clear of the drug gangs. The film also weaves in vivid strands of the positive side of the favela image. Although he attempts some small-time rob-­ beries. which generated its own set of violences. The sheer accumulation of grisly scenes—some of them unrelated to the drug trade. his photograph of a drug gang appears on the front page of the newspaper where he works as a delivery boy. While the drug traffick-­ ers devalue. the film repeats— .4 By the end of the ­four-­hundred-­page novel. con-­ vivial. but its impact is attenuated and somewhat neutral-­ ized by the parallel account of Rocket’s good fortune.” “the addict. mostly sexual objects.

or corrupt policemen who sell arms to traffickers. unthinkingly represented. are inescapably caught in a downward spiral of hardship and degradation. and denounce—with greater or lesser sensationalism—a social dynamic of segregation and violence that is indeed a commonplace. A seasoned writer from São Paulo (Inferno is her fourth novel). The witnessing of social crisis. with fig-­ ures who are male and female. prostitute. Melo brings to the task her skill in the craft of fiction and. The experience of poor urban residents. Descriptions and the inner world of the characters rely on a rich array of sensory perceptions. Inferno (in Portuguese as in En­glish a word for hell). characters. certainly a di-­ mension of the purpose of the novels and the film discussed above. Melo sets a broad and richly detailed pan-­ orama of contemporary favela life. engaged in a variety of occupations within or on the margins of the drug business—domes-­ tic worker. Who could deny it? Yet the discourses that rely on that commonplace. often falls into age-old clichés that enforce segre-­ gating views and convert the predicaments of some into easily consumable entertainment. Another recent novel. Inferno. they increase the urban paranoia that segregates the classes (Süssekind 65) and further erode the citizenship rights of those who already suffer race and class discrimination. bar owner. But effective witnessing. Many recent works of fiction and film forcefully rep-­ resent. makes the favela a space not segregated from the rest of the city but banished from it forever.and ­upper-­class readers and film viewers.5 In Berimbau. is also generally ethnographic in its intent—to provide to outsiders a detailed. as Ross Cham-­ bers points out in a different context. attentive reading of newspaper coverage rather than any sort of personal witnessing or ethno-­ graphic research. O cortiço (The Slum). which often provide narratives and images that reappear in fiction and film. her fictional community. fact-­based representation of a favela shaped ­ by poverty and ruled by drug lords—though not in its compositional methods. showcase violence and can have the undesirable effect of strengthening social segregation. with consummate skill—positive and negative stereotypes about the favela. it would seem. old and young. divulge. plot. takes the form of seeking to ­ cause some disturbance in ­well-­established cultural regularities and routines of thought . they harm favela residents: by rein-­ forcing the commonplaces that equate favela residence with criminality and violence. but are instead the ones considered disastrous by the common sense of our day: child abuse. The title. Melo’s characters. dissipates and loses its force. and situations reproduce and elaborate on those of narratives featured in the news me-­ dia. The characters are caught in a web of determinism that re-­ calls a famous Brazilian naturalist novel. and the irresistible temptation for poor youths to join a consumer society that without the money from drug traffic would remain out of their reach. The factors that decide and constrict the fate of Melo’s characters are not drawn from the theories of Hippolyte Taine and Auguste Comte about the determining power of race. Plot elements. too easily. by Aluísio Azevedo (1890).174 Rio’s Favelas in Recent Fiction and Film: Commonplaces of Urban Segregation [  P M L A true. maker of Carnival costumes. including print and televised journalism. The novel’s claim to authen-­ ticity depends on the crafting of a detailed and encompassing literary construct. like Azevedo’s. and of course every stripe of drug trafficker. absentee fathers. then. a complex situation. such as children who are shot in the hand if they neglect their jobs as lookouts. “like a w ake-­up call. by Patricia Melo (2000). When such discourses are directed as entertainment at middle. as they were in Azevedo’s novel. and sus-­ pense results in a polished narrative but one that avoids disturbing preconceived notions about favelas and the kind of people who live in them. teenage drug lords doomed to early death. Melo’s orchestration of characters. and historical moment. environment. We have.

Some ­thirtyf ive million Brazilians watched the drama ­ unfold on their television screens. a sociologist. forcing the viewer to take a slower. Bus 174 and The Scavengers. police officers. Since scenes of violence and sensationalism have become the discursive habits of our day. resisting their efforts to restrain him. a ­feature-­length docu-­ mentary by José Padilha. This second narrative. it was alleged. irrational criminal. With a critique that shows the damage caused by common-­ places. takes as its topic the actual hijacking of a bus filled with pas-­ sengers in a ­well-­off neighborhood of Rio in June 2000. Sandro do Nascimento. using all this material to put to-­ gether a broad canvas in which the incident on the bus appears in a different light. Once safely away from the cameras. The bus. in which Sandro is choked to death by the police inside a police car while. regularities of discursive hab-­ itus” (xix–xx). The films are aware of competing claims to representation. they use these competing claims rhe-­ torically to establish their own perspectives. drugged. Although Bus 174 is suspenseful. they carried out the will of some in the crowd who gathered around to watch the event and who cried out. as much a victim as the hostages he holds. Bus 174 (2002). While in the television footage of the hi-­ jacking Sandro figures as a violent. with a painstaking reconstruc-­ tion of the life and social circumstances of the hijacker. perhaps avoiding them and replacing them with other strategies of repre-­ sentation will offer the needed wake-up call. presumed to be the reluc-­ tance to display bloodshed on television. interwoven with the first. Sandro was also a drug addict and an inmate of juvenile detention centers and jails. as well as friends of the hijacker and members of his family. The di-­ rector also draws on official records such as police reports and psychological evaluations of Sandro.1   ] Marta Peixoto 175 (or its absence). while claiming to repre-­ sent territories of poverty. having windows on all four sides. skillfully permeates and complicates the first’s meaning and brings out the scandal of its de-­ nouement. For an unknown reason. a social worker. This incident. in which he appears not merely as an agent of violence but also as a victim of many forms of violence. “Kill him! Kill him!” as the officers forced Sandro . Most chillingly. extracted from televi-­ sion footage. Two recent documentary films. He lived on the street and sur-­ vived an infamous massacre outside the Can-­ delaria church in 1993. This documentary intercuts the drama unfolding in the bus. Padilha presents interviews with hostages. which lasted several hours. and inmates of a jail (in an eerie scene shown in negative images). but an investigation revealed his name. the commanding police officers on the site were instructed not to allow their men to follow the standard procedure of shooting the hijacker. was followed closely by the news media and broadcast live on television. The media coverage affected the duration and outcome of the incident. The television and newspaper cover-­ age designated the assailant only as a criminal with no known family. they avoid perpetuating them. the police apparently did not hold back from killing San-­ dro. also disrupt discur-­ sive habits.122. which they explicitly address. where attackers. Research in police archives and interviews with those who knew him disclosed a life of immense hardship as a favela resident who as a ­five-­year-­old child witnessed the murder of his mother. Both incorporate con-­ ventional narratives or visual stereotypes in order to question their adequacy. making it possible to film them from all angles. later identified as ­off-­duty police officers. challenge the spectator to discard preconceptions and to reach new understand-­ ings. killed homeless youths sleeping near the church at night. more painstaking look behind what is usually seen briefly and superficially. placed the hijacker and his hostages as if on a circular stage. a second narrative emerges from the investigative research. This is not to say that they offer balanced or neutral views. both films are programmatically nonsensational-­ ist.

One of the film’s achievements is to overcome the resistance of both its subjects and its audience. who is con-­ fronted with those caught in degrading and precarious circumstances. the film uses strictly delimited spaces—the dump itself and the nearby shacks of the scavengers—and organizes its inter-­ views around ­open-­ended questions: How do you manage? What is it like to work here? It offers no outside interpretation such as a nar-­ rating voice. The film as a whole. who make a living from what they scavenge for resale and personal use at a dump across the bay from Rio. Coutinho returns their images to them. their modes of seeing and showing also ways of brushing aside. is attended by just one elderly female friend. In approaching the well-worn topic of extreme poverty. also incorporates and ultimately discredits clichés. poignant though his life may have been. or interviews with professionals. and the scene of their viewing and of their responses is included in the film. the final sequence of the film. Sandro’s funeral. and Xavier 452). joke. In stark contrast. who was shot by Sandro and accidentally by the police. however. revealing themselves to be vital people who use words well. for instance. The first funeral. Disturbing. is of one of the hostages. a gesture of symbolic import that has the practical effect of eliciting their coop-­ eration. young and old. all shrouded in white vapor.6 The appearance on-screen of the filmmaker. “the stealing of others’ images for sensationalist purposes is the ‘original sin’ of the documentary and TV-­reportage genres” (Stam. as the interviewed characters emerge with names and unexpected life trajec-­ tories. a skinny dog. But Sandro is not made into any kind of a hero. sorting through the gar-­ bage just as the animals did moments before. and a white horse. At the beginning of the film. with a long shot of animals foraging in the dump: a pig. ending with a long shot of an adoles-­ . by the most re-­ nowned documentary filmmaker in Brazil today. yelling and talking. The Scavengers recognizes the impor-­ tance of media images for even impoverished people. difficult to watch. and his equipment underlines the contingent nature of the encounter between crew members and the people they film. If the scaven-­ gers do not actually control the final product in which their images and life stories appear. who own television sets and are aware of the offensive way in which they are typi-­ cally portrayed. they are at least offered the first opportunity to view it. Although the film offers no solution. the crew approaches people who hide their faces and wave the camera away. At the end is a scene where the scav-­ engers view the almost completed film. images explained by ­voice-­over commentary. As a garbage truck pulls up to dump its load. attended by a large crowd. suggests that there is nothing inevitable about the process: effective political action can and should change it. Vieira. a crowd of people arrive with picks and shovels. This territory of poverty is nei-­ ther romanticized nor likened to an inferno. The scavengers live in poverty but are not thereby reduced to their impoverishment. his team. no way out. By hand-­ ing the scavengers close-up photographs of themselves. For Coutinho. this documentary uses and questions the narratives and images of print and televised journalism and leads to a deeper understanding of the complex issues involved. It implies that the visibility provided by print and television media can be a form of invis-­ ibility. vultures. and have adapted to difficult cir-­ cumstances. The film opens. have idiosyncratic takes on their situation. the film directly confronts some of its clichéd aspects.176 Rio’s Favelas in Recent Fiction and Film: Commonplaces of Urban Segregation [  P M L A into the car. The old equation is immediately summoned: Are these people like animals? Have they lost all dignity? The film quickly moves to under-­ cut this cliché. The film ends with two fu-­ neral sequences. The Scavengers (1992). ask pointed questions. Focusing on an assortment of people. Eduardo Coutinho. laugh. mirroring the discomfort of the viewer. Sandro is a victim whose actions. make more victims.

As Padilha observes. fiction. actually underline social distinctions (instead of criticizing them). and lyrics in samba. The limited reach of films or narratives that encourage thoughtful and critical engagement. the film expands the urban imaginary by avoiding some commonplaces. not only in the art sections. violence. poetry. by allowing them to leave the theater or turn off the television set with a tranquil conscience: we know who is at fault. 2. and Lurie. like drug traf-­ ficking and its violence. providing work for tens of thousands of scavengers.” The film. Hollanda 249–50. Both Bus 174 and The Scavengers recog-­ nize the negative effect of the media’s trans-­ mission of conventional views of poverty. The Scavengers won prizes in film festivals in Mexico. setting the stage for it by encourag-­ ing a charged awareness in the figures who act in the film as well as in their spectators. contrary to what one would expect in a first approach to those works. something is being done. While neither demonizing the scavengers nor sanitizing their lives into an engaging specta-­ cle. as Con-­ suelo Lins observes. see Leeds. to recycle a predictable repertory of figures and urban situations. the scavengers are left exactly as the filmmaker found them. About the impact of drug trafficking in favelas and its political implications. . and by using others critically. Kehl. yet their representativeness and the magnitude of their plight are encapsulated in the words that end the film: “Filmed in the Itaoca Dump of São Gonçalo. His film did accomplish these goals. rap. films and narra-­ tives that counter stereotypes have slighter Notes 1. . forty kilometers from Rio. and action rather than passive spectatorship is precisely why their repeated and patient in-­ tervention continues to be necessary. and racial and class prejudice. ­ (96) repercussion than those that reinforce them. France. Unquestionably. and funk. . . of this and other quotations from essays in Portuguese). And this time San-­ dro. See Süssekind 61–63. the viewer is likely to see these images with a new under-­ standing. perhaps because of its understated approach and its refusal of easy perspectives or solu-­ tions.” It refuses to point out causes or culprits but also refuses any ready-made solutions or narrative options that would help the spectators toler-­ ate or endure the situation. The director of Bus 174 recognizes that a film that addresses entrenched and severe problems can only hope to bring awareness and put pressure on local authorities. In memoirs. .122. my trans. they offer views from the inside of segregation. it “brought the BUS 174 affair back to all major Brazilian newspapers.” (“Bus 174”). we can sleep in peace.1   ] Marta Peixoto 177 cent turning over the garbage in the company of animals who do the same. who initially had been characterized as a crazy bandit was taken to be a symbol of the way Brazil mishandles its street kids and mi-­ nor delinquents . what is unacceptable in the images suffers no reduction. Germany. After the intervention of the film. In her excellent article. which. Süssekind views these texts that combine ethnography and fiction in a critical light. and Brazil but was not shown in movie theaters in Brazil. 3. empathy. but also in the political and national affairs sections. . establishes “a precarious balance between the rejection of the idea of an inferno for those who work there and affirma-­ tion of the intolerable. The related question of ­self-­representation by resi-­ dents of favelas and urban peripheries in Brazil has been addressed lately in criticism responding to the signifi-­ cant increase in the number of such works. . The film calls for political action only implicitly. Her insight is a point of departure for . Hundreds of similar dumps are lo-­ cated around Brazil. . distinc-­ tions already demarcated with precision in everyday life” (63. In The Scavengers. observing that they tend “to operate with clichés. however. The very different images of sensationalized violence and of a vital culture associated with music and Carnival have in common the encouragement of passive spectatorship.

Trans. 1992. . Rosenthal. “The Sertão and the Favela in Contempo-­ rary Brazilian Film. and Ismail Xavier. Paulo.178 Rio’s Favelas in Recent Fiction and Film: Commonplaces of Urban Segregation my essay. Janice. London: Verso. 2004. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar. [  P M L A Works Cited Azevedo. Patricia. Clifford E. Meirelles. occupies the site that once belonged to an actual favela. “Cidade de Deus. .bus174. Berimbau. Aluísio. Brazil 2001. and social lines in a way she finds more aesthetically and politically satisfying. Fernando. Caldeira. 2002. ed. First Run /​ Icarus. 2004. Miramax. The Myth of Marginality: Urban Poverty and Politics in Rio de Janeiro. Catacumba: a hill rising steeply from Avenida Epitácio Pessoa in the affluent neighborhood of Lagoa.” Literatura e Sociedade 8 (2005): 60–81. Nagib. The New Brazilian Cinema. Trans. Segregation. Ivana. R. Stam. however. Süssekind goes on to study poetry that blurs spatial territories.” ­ Na­gib 105–17.” Rocha 625–41. Padilha. dir. The Slum. José. Ex-­ panded ed. 2006.’” Rocha 643–57. dir. Melo’s imaginary setting also has a historical com-­ ponent. London: Tau­ ris. Shoshanna. 2003. the corrupt political and military administration that gives them space. although my argument does not coincide with hers. The others are Santa Marta: Duas semanas no morro (“Santa Marta: Two Weeks in the Slums” [1987]). 1992. Roberto Schwarz points to other social and po-­ litical forces that make no appearance in the novel: “the higher spheres of the drug business. Maria Rita. 2002. “A Cinema of Conversation: Eduardo Coutinho’s Santo Forte and Babilônia 2000. Rio de Janeiro: Fundação Getúlio Var-­ gas. London: Bloomsbury.” Trans. Bentes. 5. DVD. Catacumba was removed in 1969. Verônica Ferreira. Perlman. Trans. City of God. Lins. Santo Forte (1999). . 1976. Coutinho. Roberto. Dias. Bus 174. 4. Melo. that “in literary terms. the real estate speculation at the origin of favela segre-­ gation. 2002 . Ross. Her fictional community.” Latin American Research ­ Review 31 (1996): 47–83. 389–472. Centro de Criação ­ de Imagem Popular.com/​ director​ .” Seqüências brasilei­ ras: Ensaios. HBO/​ Cinemax Documentary Film.” He argues forcefully. Lurie. Um século de fa­ vela . The Scavengers . 1890. Teresa P. Flora. “Two Poetics. 2006. DVD. Davis. Planet of Slums. . City of Walls: Crime. Rocha. Oxford: Oxford UP. Shoshanna Lurie. Two Mo-­ ments. 3rd ed. ———. THINK-­ Film. Larry. 2004. and Babilônia 2000 (2001). City of God. Untimely Interventions: AIDS. ed. “The Shape of Brazilian Cinema in the Postmodern Age. Süssekind.” Bus 174 . Rev. Hollanda. This is the second of four documentary films by Cou­tinho set in Rio’s favelas. Lon-­ don: Bloomsbury. and Marcos Alvito. of Cidade de Deus. 2003. 163–71. 2000. New York: Columbia UP. “Out of the Slums of Rio.htm>. Trans. identities.” Brazilian Cinema.” Nagib 121–37. Rohter. Chambers. Trans of Boca de lixo. Kehl. João Luiz Vieira. codir. “The Orphan Brotherland: Rap’s Civi-­ lizing Effort on the Periphery of São Paulo. Landers. Trans. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P. Trans. Testimo­ nials. of O cortiço.” New York Times 26 Apr. Heloísa Buarque de. Alba. of Cidade de Deus. eds. Inferno. 2nd ed. and the Rhetoric of Haunting. Schwarz. Lins. Consuelo. O documentário de Eduardo Coutinho: Te­ le­vi­são. and Citizenship in São Paulo. Ed. Trans. 2003. “Cocaine and Parallel Polities in the Brazilian Urban Periphery: Constraints on ­LocalL evel Democratization. João Cezar de Castro. 2002. Rocha 245–53. Alison Entrekin. an Author Finds Fame. Berkeley: U of Califor-­ nia P. Felipe Lacerda. 1997. “Funk and Hip-Hop Transculture: Cultural Conciliation and Racial Identification in the ‘Divided City. Robert. Hart Sharp. Mike. of Inferno. O2 Filmes and Videofilmes. “Bus 174: Director’s Statement. dir. 2000. Leeds. cinema e vídeo. “Desterritorialização e forma literária: Literatura brasileira contemporânea e experiência ur-­ bana. 6. Lúcia. Zaluar. Kátia Lund. codir. Eduardo. 2000. 1995. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras. Spec. Centre for Brazilian Studies. 6 June 2006 <http://​ w ww​ . U of Oxford. Elizabeth. David H. late ed. Trans. in an attempt during the military dictatorship to eradicate all the three hundred or so favelas existing in Rio at the time—an attempt that failed (Perlman 223–33).: A4. the limited orbit is a strength” (166). of Onibus 174. Berkeley: U of Califor-­ nia P. Randal Johnson and Stam. 2003. is-­ sue of Portuguese Literary and Cultural Studies 4–5 (2000): 31–758. 1999.

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