Brazil: Cop Ultraviolence Flick Wins in Berlin

Urso de Ouro aumenta pressão sobre PM, diz “capitão Nascimento”: The real-life model for Capt. Nascimento in the filme Tropa de Elite says the Golden Bear the film received from the Berlin Film Festival will increase pressure on the Rio police, reports the Folha Online (Brazil) in an interview with the semiautobiographical novel on which it was based.

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O Urso de Ouro conquistado por “Tropa de Elite” em Berlim no sábado, desbancando até mesmo o filme “Sangue Negro”, com oito indicações ao Oscar, fará com que organizações internacionais aumentem a pressão sobre a política de confronto da polícia do Rio de Janeiro, disse à Folha Online Rodrigo Pimentel, ex-capitão do Bope (Batalhão Operações Policiais Especiais) que inspirou o Capitão Nascimento, personagem principal do filme premiado.

The Golden Bear award won by Tropa de Elite on Saturday, defeating even There Will Be Blood, with its eight Oscar nominations, will cause international organizations to increase their pressure on the policy of armed confrontation of the Rio de Janeiro police, said Rodrigo Pimentel, formerly a captain in the Special Operations Battalion [BOPE] of the state military police, who inspired Capt. Nascimento, the principal character in the award-winning film.

I think he also gets a producer and screenwriting credit. Pimentel has done other film work, starting with the documentary Ónibus 174. You should rent that.

“O comando da Polícia Militar fluminense já avisou: nas operações para as obras do Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento (PAC) ocorrerem no Alemão, muita gente vai morrer. Só em 2007 a polícia do Rio matou 1.600 pessoas. E mudou alguma coisa? Há anos a gente sobe o morro, mata traficante, e nada muda. Com certeza, com a vitória em Berlim, a ‘guerra’ no Rio recebe repercussão internacional, e o governo terá de rever esta estratégia”, aponta Pimentel.

“The commanders of the Rio state military police has already warned that during operations in support of the economic development plant for the Complexo do Alemão, a lot of people are going to die. In 2007 alone the Rio police killed 1,600 people. And did anything change? For years now we go up the hillside, we kill drug traffickers, and nothing changes. Now, with the victory in Berlin, the ‘war’ in Rio will get international attention and the government will have to rethink this strategy,” Pimental says.

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Para o ex-capitão, o governador Sérgio Cabral (PMDB) apenas está dando uma dose “mais forte do mesmo remédio” que já foi aplicado pelos antecessores, como Benedita da Silva e Garotinho. O diferencial são as obras do PAC, que prometem reurbanizar as favelas de Manguinhos, Rocinha e complexo do Alemão, locais dominados pelo tráfico e onde a polícia não entra.

In the view of the former BOPE captain, Gov. Cabral is merely applying “a stronger dose of the same medicine” applied by his predecessors, such as Benedita da Silva and the Garotinhos. The difference now is the PAC (federal economic growth program), which promises to urbanize the shantytowns of Manguinhos, Rocinha and the Alemão complex, dominated by the drug traffic and where the police do not enter. 

“A gente já sabe o que está dando errado, mas não sabe o que pode dar certo. A polícia mata um, na hora seguinte tem um jovem pronto para pegar em armas e defender o ponto de venda de droga. A cada fuzil apreendido, dois chegam facilmente aos criminosos”, relatou o ex-policial, que falou com a Folha Online de Porto Alegre, onde estava embarcando para Montevidéu.

“We know this is working badly, but no one knows what might work well. The police kill one, an hour later there is a young man ready to pick up a gun and defend the [drug point of sale]. For every assault rifle apprehended, two get into the hands of criminals,” the former policeman said, speaking to the Folha in Porto Alegre, where he was preparting to travel to Montivideo, Uruguay. 

Na sua opinião, a novidade agora é que há um plano para levar cultura, lazer e infra-estrutura para o morro. “Mas o maior erro será se a polícia participar disso apenas como elemento garantidor das obras. A PM deve subir o morro e ficar. Se o policial descer do morro, no dia seguinte o traficante volta, e todo o investimento federal feito ali foi por água abaixo.”

In Pimentel’s opinion, what is new in the current situation is that there is a plan to bring culture, leisure and infrastructure to the hillside shantytowns. “But the biggest mistake would be for the police to take part in this only to provide security for the work. The PM needs to go up the hillside to stay. If the police come back down the hill, the next day the traffic is back, and all that federal investment will go down the drain.”

‘Colegiado de Berlim é sensível’

‘Berlin jury was sensitive’

Para o espanto de Pimentel, “Tropa de Elite” não entrou em cartaz em outros países no circuito alternativo, mas sim no circuito comercial: apenas nos Estados Unidos, já foram distribuídas cem cópias. Ele afirmou que o colegiado de Berlim não viu o filme como “fascista”, como foi apresentado pela imprensa internacional –principalmente pela revista americana especializada “Variety” –, mas sim como “revelador, denunciador da violência e da corrupção policial”, tendo, por isso, recebido o merecido destaque.

To Pimentel’s surprise, the film was not exhibited on the alt.cinema circuit in other countries, but in commercial theaters: in the U.S. alone, 100 copies have been distributed. He says the Berlin jury did not see the film as “fascist,” as the international press wrote — most notably the American trade journal Variety — but rather as “revealing, denouncing police violence and corruption,” and therefore worthy of distinction.

I thought that, too. I thought the film was undermined by the addition of a lot of the trappings of slick Hollywood ultraviolence, including a pumped-up videogame soundtrack.

It should, for the sake of realism, have used the toothless, grungy funk carioca versions of the vicious, hardcore “kill ’em all and let God sort ’em’ out theme music, for example. You can download them off of YouTube.

And that it did not adequately represent the experience of people caught in the crossfire.

Another good film — much more modestly produced — on the same theme:

O ex-capitão critica, porém, a repercussão dada por jornais brasileiros ao fato de “Tropa de Elite” ter sido narrado em Berlim por uma mulher — enquanto os personagens principais são homens — e recebido legendas em alemão. Segundo Pimentel, José Padilha (diretor do filme), que acompanhou premiação no festival, disse que não houve vaias e ausências do público durante a exibição, conforme noticiado.

The former captain criticizes the attention paid by Brazilian journalists to the fact that the film was narrated in Berlin by a woman — even though the main characters are men — and was subtitled in German. According to Pimentel, the director of the film, José Padilha, who attended the awards ceremony, reported there was no booing or walking out during the exhibition of the film, as reported.

“A imprensa hiperdimensionou isso. O fato é que o colegiado de Berlim é muito sensível e conseguiu ver o que escapou ao júri do Oscar. O filme foi aclamado e terá destaque internacional agora. Eu acho que, com o Urso de Ouro, a atenção vai ser voltada para o combate ao crime no Rio. Aqui há uma guerra onde morre tanto quanto em países com conflitos civis, como Colômbia e Quênia. E é isso que o mundo precisa ver”, afirmou o ex-oficial do Bope.

“The press blew this out of proportion. The fact is that the Berlin jury was very sensitive and managed to see what escaped the Oscar jury. The film has been acclaimed and featured worldwide now. Ithink that with the Golden Bear, attention will turn to the fight against crime in Rio. There is war here in which just as many people die as in civil wars such as in Colombia and Kenya. And this is what the world needs to see,” says the ex-BOPE officer.

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