- By: Aula Abbara
Hector Babenco's Carandiru is a bizarre and fascinating exploration of the real life events that took place in the lead up to the 1992 rebellion in Carandiru prison, Sao Paolo, Brazil, in which 112 inmates were killed.
The film is a peculiar mix of pantomime, dark humour, and shocking violence, told from the point of view of the affable prison doctor (played by Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos). His motto-“some people judge, I am not one of them”-makes him a trusted confidante to the colourful characters that inhabit the prison. He had been brought into the prison to oversee its AIDS education programme. With his non-judgmental approach, he competently does his work in an overcrowded prison with decaying facilities rife with tuberculosis and leptospirosis at the cusp of an AIDS epidemic. Carandiru is based on an account by the oncologist Drauzio Varella, whose book Estação Carandiru recounted his time as a volunteer