Based on the memoirs of a doctor, Drauzio Varella, who administered at São Paulo's most notorious prison, Babenco's film introduces us to a dozen or more inmates. These universally colourful characters spin wild tales of rough justice and betrayed innocence in flashbacks that give the stories a feel that's practically Runyonesque. It's entertaining, and you learn quite a bit about the do's and don't's of the Brazilian penal system (pray this never comes in handy), although the mise-en-scène feels terribly old fashioned after City of God - until a shocking dramatic climax wipes the smile off your face.
Cast and crew
Victor Navas, Fernando Bonassi, Hector Babenco
Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos Milton Gonçalves Ivan de Almeida Ailton Graça Maria Luísa Mendonça Aída Leiner Rodrigo Santoro Gero Camilo Lázaro Ramos Caio Blat Wagner Moura Julia Ianina