Gone shooting — Rio de Janeiro


Inspired by footage of police killing a bus hijacker, José Padilha’s ‘Elite Squad’ is the most viewed film in Brazil’s history (thanks to the country’s rampant piracy) and won the 2008 Berlin Film Festival’s Golden Bear. We met Padilha as he was finishing ‘Elite Squad II’.

Barra de Tijuca, Bus 174, Elite Squad II

“I was planning on doing other films when the whole Bus 174 thing happened [a young kid from the favelas held up a busload of people which was caught live on Brazilian TV]. I guess that was 10 years ago exactly. It took place right next to my house. So I couldn’t go back home because the roads were blocked.

I was at a gym, running on a treadmill, with one of those televisions that they have – right in front of it. So I watched an hour of it. And then I could not stop watching. For the whole weekend it was broadcast live. I felt very curious and…

  • Elite Squad II (2010)

    The sequel drama to 2007’s hit turns the protagonist tables, following the police as they deal with violence and politics in the favelas.

  • Segredos da Tribo (2010)

    Padilha investigates the infiltrating research of anthropologists in the Amazon Basin where the Yanomami Indians – untouched by modern society – reside.

  • Garapa (2009)

    A devastating documentary about three families trying to stave off starvation in Brazil.

  • Elite Squad (2007)

    This drama is an intense ride through Rio’s slums giving an intimate look at the city’s web of corruption.

  • Charcoal (2007)

    Padilha turns a critical eye on South America’s metallurgic activity when he depicts the rural population of coal miners.

  • Bus 174 (2002)

    A documentary about the tragic incident in Rio in June 2000, when a bus was held up at gunpoint by a young man – a story that was broadcast live on TV.

  • Pantaneiros (2001)/Pantanal Cowboys (2001)

    The Pantanal is the world’s largest freshwater wetland and covers 140,000 sq km. Padilha meets the intrepid cowboys of the region.


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