Aroview: An expressionist series of tales set within the notorious titular prison in Sao Paolo, Brazil, as seen through the eyes of a benevolent doctor and climaxing with a recreation of a 1992 massacre which was one of the worst in penal history.
Creating a gallery of Dickensian characters, dir. Babenco portrays not only the expected violence, overcrowding and hellish conditions of the place, but also moments of compassion within its eccentric subcultures. Although in its first half the episodic structure drags somewhat, the climactic scenes are impressively crafted, the bloody deaths of over 100 prisoners garishly fused with religious imagery.
Made after returning to Brazil after years of illness in the Hollywood wilderness, dir. Babenco returns to form, displaying the political conviction of his best past works (such as PIXOTE). Based on the autobiography of Drauzio Varella.