Carandiru | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Long, grim, but utterly engrossing, this 2003 Brazilian drama by Hector Babenco (Kiss of the Spider Woman) was shot on location at the Sao Paulo house of detention, a massive penitentiary that once housed more than 7,000 men. Babenco adapted a best-selling novel by Drauzio Varella, a doctor who worked at the facility from 1989 until it was demolished in 2002, and like City of God the movie weaves numerous subplots into a dense social fabric. The story climaxes with the infamous October 1992 riot in which police massacred 111 prisoners, but even before that bloodbath transpires Babenco has made a powerful political statement, reestablishing the humanity of people we'd be much more comfortable forgetting. In Portuguese with subtitles. 148 min. Landmark's Century Centre.

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