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Manda Bala (Send A Bullet) (2007) - Movie Review

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Manda Bala (Send A Bullet) (2007) - Movie Review

Manda Bala on DVD

© City Lights Pictures

The Bottom Line

Documentary film director Jason Kohn probes the violent class struggle in contemporary Brazil, where kidnappings for ransom are so frequent that cottage industries have sprung up around them.
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Pros

  • A harsh but entertaining exposé of corruption and violence in Brazil.
  • Applies all the artistic skills of narrative filmmaking to the documentary genre.
  • A cunning travelog that lets to see what's happening in Brazil without having to go there.

Cons

  • After seeing this film, you may decide to cancel your trip to Brazil.

Description

  • Class struggle leads to corruption and violence in Brazil, where kidnappings for ransom occur on a daily basis.
  • A corrupt politician uses a frog farm to launder money he has embezzled from a government fund intended to aid the poor.
  • A prominent plastic surgeon specializes in sewing ears back on to released victims of kidnappers.

Guide Review - Manda Bala (Send A Bullet) (2007) - Movie Review

In his highly entertaining, informative and alarming documentary film, Manda Bala (Send A Bullet), first time director Jason Kohn takes aim at the corruption and violence plaguing contemporary Brazil, where ongoing class struggle disrupts daily life. The rich drive around in armored Porsches, while the poor scavenge garbage dumps for food. Kidnappings are so frequent, cottage industries have sprung up around them.

Kohn (mentored by Errol Morris), takes his camera from the luxurious lairs of powerful businessmen and politicians into the swarming, filthy, impoverished slums ruled by desperation and despair.

He introduces us to a corrupt politician who is using a huge frog farm to launder embezzled government funds designated for economic development of Brazil's poorest province, a professional kidnapper who relocated from that province to Sao Paulo to make a living (or killing, as the case may be), a kidnap victim whose ears were cut off before she was released, and a plastic surgeon who has made a lucrative career of reconstructing the ears of released victims of kidnappers.

Yes, restoring ears is one of the cottage industries that have cropped up to deal with the kidnappings. Imagine that! Kohn really captures the cycles of violence that plague both upper and lower classes. Kohn's footage is all authentic, but his dramatic shooting and editing style gives Manda Bala the tone of a narrative feature thriller that is grippingly engaging, entertaining and, sometimes, shockingly funny.

If you want to know what is happening in Brazil, Manda Bala is a good--and safe--place to go for research.

If Manda Bala isn't playing in a theater near you, make sure you watch it on DVD.

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