Rio: My Name Is Not Really “André The Fireman”

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From Globo, in theaters now: My Name is Not Johnny. The heartwarming story of a Bolivian marching powder fiend who finds redemption in a hellish Brazilian loony bin.

If you got bad news, you wanna kick them blues; cocaine.
When your day is done and you wanna run; cocaine.
She don’t lie, she don’t lie, she don’t lie; cocaine.

–Clapton (autobiography now avaible in PT-Br from Editora Planeta do Brasil)

According to police, the couple murdered were reportedly drug users and were denounced to the militia by a woman intitally identified as Luciana.

G1 (Globo, Brazil) reports today (from real life):

Preso cabo dos bombeiros suspeito de matar casal

“Fireman suspected of murdering couple is arrested.”

Um cabo do Corpo de Bombeiros foi preso suspeito de chefiar um grupo de milícia que teria assassinado a tiros um casal em Santa Cruz, na Zona Oeste do Rio, na última quarta-feira (2). Outras duas pessoas também foram presas suspeitas do mesmo crime. As informações são do delegado da 36ª DP (Santa Cruz), Aguinaldo Ribeiro da Silva.

A corporal from the state fire brigade was arrested on suspicion of heading a militia group that shot a couple to death in Santa Cruz, Western Zone, Rio de Janeiro, on January 2. Another two persons were also arrested on the same allegation. The report comes from Aguinaldo Ribeiro da Silva, commander of the 36th Police Precinct (Santa Cruz).

Aguinaldo da Silva — a xará (namesake) of the scriptwriter for Globo’s current prime-time soap opera. Go figure.

Junto com os suspeitos foram apreendidas duas pistolas calibre 45 e munição. Um carro e uma motocicleta também foram apreendidos pelos agentes.

Together with the suspects, two .45-caliber pistols and ammunition were apprehended. A car and a motorcycle were also seized by police agents.

O cabo dos bombeiros foi identificado pela polícia como André Bombeiro. A assessoria de imprensa dos Bombeiros informou que a entidade só se pronunciará quando for notificada oficialmente sobre a prisão.

The fire brigade corporal was identified by police as André Bombeiro.

That is, as “André the Fireman.” Not all that helpful, from a Five Ws point of view.

The fire brigade’s press office said the brigade would only comment once it is officially notified of the arrest.

A Tarde (Salvador, Bahia) adds (from wire services):

Três homens que foram presos em flagrante hoje, no Rio, são suspeitos de terem participado do assassinato de um casal, na comunidade Cesarão, zona oeste da cidade, na última quarta-feira. Eles foram presos por porte ilegal de armas, com duas pistolas calibre 45 milímetros e munições para o mesmo tipo de arma, de calibre 9 milímetro.

Three men arrested in flagrante today in Rio are suspected of participating in the murder of a couple in Cesarão, Western Zone, last Wednesday. They were arrested for possession of illegal weapons, along with two .45 pistols and 9mm ammo for this same type of weapon.

9mm = .45? Say what?

From Yahoo Questions on the difference:

O calibre .45 é mais grosso, mas tem um menor poder de penetração. Esse foi um dos motivos que a 9mm substituiu a 45 nas Forças Armadas. Outro motivo é que, sendo um pouco mais estreita, a munição 9mm pode ser melhor acondicionada nos carregadores das pistolas.

The .45 round is thicker [bulkier], but has less penetrating power. That was one reason why the 9mm replaced the .45 in the armed forces. Another reason is that, because it is a little more narrow, 9mm ammo fits better in pistol clips.

The image “https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/01/45caliberACP.jpg/300px-45caliberACP.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
.45 ACP. Source: The Jimmy “Child’s Xmas in Wales” Font of All Practical Wisdom and Nonsense.

A Tarde has now officially confused me on this issue.

I am looking this stuff up on “the Internets” now.

9mm = .354 inches.

The .45 round = .451 inches, or 11.5 mm.

If that is correct, and I think it is, then A Tarde and its wire services have quacked, and forced me to do the math for myself. Which makes me mad, as a vigilante consumer of information services.

De acordo com os policiais daquela delegacia, os acusados seriam integrantes da milícia local. O grupo, segundo agentes, é chefiado pelo André Bombeiro, que está preso. Um carro, de marca gol e uma motocicleta, usados pelos autores do duplo homicídio, foram apreendidos pelos agentes. Os veículos estavam escondidos em um depósito clandestino de gás.

According to police from the local precinct, the accused are members of the local militia. The group, police say, is headed by André the Fireman, who was arrested. A VW Gol and a motorcyle used in the double homicide were apprehended by police agents. The vehicles were hidden in a clandestine bottled cooking gas warehouse.

Ainda de acordo com os agentes, o casal assassinato seria usuário de entorpecentes e foi denunciado à milícia, por uma mulher identificada inicialmente como Luciana.

Still according to police, the couple murdered were reportedly drug users and were denounced to the militia by a woman intitally identified as Luciana.

We just saw the latest release from Globo Filmes here in Brazil, called Meu Nome Não é Johnny. You may want to hit the “mute” button before visiting that Web site.

We thought it was slickly produced, and pretty awful overall — with moments (the two crooked cops from the policia civil provided some excellent comic relief.)

Sort of an odd (and mostly flat, dramatically inert) reprise of Traffic, Drugstore Cowboy, and Girl, Interrupted.

It recounts how a middle-class carioca surfer dude gets into selling weight, and smuggling blow to Barcelona, and then, when caught, convinces the judge he should be sent to rehab rather than jail.

The “rehab” he gets sent to is not a rehab at all, but the sort of hell-hole of an psychiatric hospital (manicômio) treated with high dramatic impact in the film Bicho de Sete Cabeças.

It ends with a sappy fairy-tale moral: Since getting out of the manicômio, the real-life model for this character has kept his life together, starting a successful career as a composer and producer (for Globo?)

The judge is quoted as saying he is “living proof that people can be reformed.”

What he does overcome, interestingly, is sensationalized “lynch mob” journalistic coverage of his arrest. Hence the title of the film: “I am just plain João, not the mobster Johnny, as the media nicknamed me.”

Look, I have friends who are recovering from substance abuse.

It’s a world-class son of a bitch and a half. A lot of people just  don’t make it.

There is not a single scene in the film of the man actually dealing with his addiction — say, attending an NA meeting, jonesing, dealing with temptation — except in the most superficial of ways. Nothing like that.

The man’s metamorphosis from gibbering coke fiend tooling around in a vintage Aero Willys to useful member of society is a total deus ex machina.

It occurs as if by magic.

The character is dramatically rich when exhibiting flamboyant coked-out behavior in the first half of the film — I keep thinking of Johnny Depp doing his Saturday Night Fever strut through the airport to the strains of “Whoa, Black Betty, bam-a-lam” — but more or less dramatically one-dimensional in the last half of the film, which just gets more and more unbearably sappy and trite.

Afterwards, I was reminding our friends of Raging Bull as a film about a descent into violence, insanity and degradation that actually takes you there and rubs your nose in it, emotionally.

I never miss a chance to plug Scorsese as an American director that citizens of the emerging Rio-Sampa megalopolis ought to take more seriously as a model for storytelling about their own Italo-Lusophone Zeitgeist.

Anyway: Apparently, in Rio, if you grow up on “the asphalt,” you can

  1. suck 100 grams of Bolivian marching powder up your nose every week for years on end,
  2. dump kilo bags out onto your Marshall stacks at band practice to get the music flowing,
  3. get caught red-handed with six kilos, plus 400 grams in your freaking shoes for “personal consumption,” and
  4. still get a shot at redemption from a state that
  5. apparently offers you zero genuine substance-abuse treatment, as well as
  6. residuals from selling the rights to a sappy, pretentious, utterly derivative biopic, with Boogie Nights pretensions, to Globo Filmes.

If you get caught smoking a joint, doing a line, or shooting skag in Shantytown:

  1. Bang bang! Out go the lights.

André the Fireman thinks rehab is just some Communist-inspired pipe-dream of liberal pussies.

And what André the Fireman says, goes.

Wake me when you do a biopic of the drugstore cowboys he allegedly whacked. Or of André himself.

Who is being spared the embarrassment, apparently, of being named and shamed like our João-Johnny.

“For our friends, anything; for our enemies, the Law.”

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