Hector Babenco, who went on to direct the acclaimed Kiss of the Spiderwoman, made an international splash with this gritty portrait of juvenile poverty and street crime in Brazil. Pixote (Portuguese slang for "Peewee") is the name of a chubby-cheeked 10-year-old runaway played by real-life slum kid Fernando Ramos da Silva. He's a natural, creating a childlike and vulnerable character left emotionally hardened and morally adrift by his brutal experiences. In an overcrowded São Paulo "reform school," a cross between a prison and an army barracks, he learns the hard facts of survival as he watches gangs prey on weaker kids, and the cops and guards abuse, beat, and even murder their charges. Pixote escapes and turns to street crime in Rio with a small gang, but his dreams of big money and a good life are dashed as they play at crime in a violent kill-or-be-killed world. Equal parts exposé and social drama, Pixote dramatizes the plight of millions of children who live on the streets or get ground up in the system that breeds hardened criminals from juvenile delinquents. Like Luis Buñuel's Los Olvidados, one of Babenco's inspirations, this occasionally melodramatic portrait of poverty is shocking and affecting, but no more so than da Silva's own life story. After completing the film he sank back into poverty and crime, and died on the streets. His life became the subject of the 1996 film Who Killed Pixote?, which showed that despite the outcry created by Pixote, Brazil has done little to alleviate these conditions. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The performances Babenco gets from his non-professional cast are amazing, especially his tiny young lead.
The film almost totally avoids the twin traps of false sentimentality (although it's got plenty of emotion), or needless flashiness. It occasionally feels aimless, but somehow, in the end, always adds up.
Probably the weakest, most problematic moment is the opening, where the `director' (Babenco, or an actor?) tells us that these actors are real people, gives us some facts and figures about them, and tells that their lives are much like those shown in the film.
It then took me the first few minutes of the movie to forget about that, and get involved with the characters, and not get all intellectually caught up the artistic complexities of `real people' playing a dramatic variation on their lives.
So perhaps I don't consider this terrific, important film a 'perfect' masterpiece as so many do- but I deeply admire it and respect it, would encourage everyone to see it (though you doubtless find the experience upsetting) and look forward to seeing it a third time. You will never be able to look at a poor kid on the street quite the same way again.
And I'm thrilled that after years of waiting, a proper 1:85 release is available, on Amazon.us. Yes, it's DVD-R, which means it may not play on your computer, theoretically will have a shorter shelf life, and has no extras. But after years where this important, influential film was out of print and very difficult to see - and when you could find it it was a terribly transferred 4:3 VHS based version that someone wanted $60 for - this is a big step in the right direction
Most recent customer reviews
Although I am a person who is usually never at a loss for words, all I can say right now is that you MUST see this film. Read morePublished on June 12 2004
This is perhaps one of the most accurate depictions of life on the streets for millions of homeless, and parentless, children around the world. Vivid. Hard-hitting. Read morePublished on May 18 2004 by Patrick J. Atkinson
I would recommend this film to anyone who interested in the topic of street children. This film bodly represents the struggles of a young boy trying to find a place in a society... Read morePublished on Jan. 22 2004
I thought that this movie was a real eye-opener! I didn't know that you could film child nudity/pornography. Read morePublished on Jan. 22 2004 by Bart
Brutal and often shocking film about street children in Rio de Janeiro is brought to the screen without excuses or apologies by Hector Babenco. Read morePublished on Aug. 20 2000 by Miko
Pixote is a "throw-away-kid" living in the slums of Sao Paolo, Brazil, surviving by committing petty crimes, but later murdering without signs of any emotion. Read morePublished on July 30 2000 by Michael Mathena
This films is one of the saddest I've seen. The degree of brutality and human degradation is unbelievable. Read morePublished on July 2 2000 by Anna Shlimovich