Archive, Film Series

Felipe Lacerda’s ONIBUS 174

“Screening of Brazilian film, ‘BUS 174’”


ONIBUS 174 is a careful investigation of the hijacking of a bus in Rio de Janeiro, based on an extensive research of stock footage, interviews and official documents. It happened on 12 June 2000 (Valentine’s Day in Brazil) and was broadcast live for more than 4 hours. The whole country stopped to watch the drama on TV …  it was the most watched television ‘program’ in Brazil that year.

The film tells two parallel stories. It follows the dramatic events, which unfolded as the police tried, and failed, to handle the situation; but it also tells the amazing life story of the hijacker, revealing how a typical Rio street kid became a violent criminal because society systematically denied him any kind of meaningful existence.  Both stories are interwoven in such a way that we can begin to grasp at least some of the reasons why Brazil, and other countries with similar social and economic problems, are so violent. It is also a striking case study of (political) violence in the media age, and of the effects of live television on the construction of our shared reality. The film has been screened internationally and has won many awards.

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