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Favela Rising

In: Historical Events

Submitted By lazorm
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Meghan Lazor
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Essay 3
Favela Rising

Favela Rising was an inspirational film about how even at the most hopeless of times, anything can be possible. One man had the courage to take a horrible tragedy and use it to rebuild a violent community into a cultural and more positive place to live. Through blind faith and endless optimism, this man fought through every obstacle in his path against the drug run streets of Brazil’s slums. He stood as a symbol of peace even in the face of death.
The filmmaker risked his life to provide an edge of your seat colorful look into the dangerous streets of Rio Di Janero’s slums or “Favela’s, through the eyes of its people. The Favela’s are broken up into sections according to each drug lord’s domain. Here, the law is just as corrupt as the criminals who govern the streets. The citizens are confined to their own section living life fearing not when, but how they will die. The children aspire to be outlaws because they have nothing else to look forward to. The filmmaker paid special attention to the citizen’s of the Favela’s. These people were the narrator’s of the story. Many times when they spoke everything else would be blacked out. The camera would zoom into their faces so close that all you could see would be their mouths. This technique isolated the emotions and words of each speaker. As each person told a piece of the story, the filmmaker would show clips of video to follow along. Since the area is so dangerous the filmmaker could not walk in the streets shooting any normal video. Instead, he did a very creative job of piecing together various film footage from all different resources to tell the story. The filmmaker used footage from hidden cameras and the media to show crime and violence when he could not risk the danger of videotaping with his crew. Many scenes were shot on rooftops because the streets are so overcrowded by people. The speed of the video was slowed down to dramatically show impending doom lurking around every corner. The filmmaker must have had a deep connection to the people. A photo was shown as respect for the life of every person mention throughout the film that died at the hands of violence. Every so often, there would be a distance shot of the all the Favela’s to humble the audience. This was intended to show how small one person is in such a largely populated area. On the other side of the scale, there was a frequent shot of a small boy flying a kite all alone. I believe this image represented the innocence of youth and hope for a brighter future. During the entire first half of the movie, because there was so much pain and suffering, the filmmaker used different filters to blur the picture and fade out much of the colors. The music also corresponded to the video causing a feeling of sorrow for the lifestyle of these people.
The climax took a turn in a whole new direction. Hope was the theme of the second half of the film. The picture became brighter and more vivid as the story began of AfroReggae started. AfroReggae was described as more than just a style of music; it is a lifestyle, a place to make changes, and a chance to be someone better. It focuses on the youth by giving children an outlet for their frustrations and an escape from the chaos of the world they live in. The speed of the video demonstrating the enthusiasm of the children as they danced to the music they created. Rhythm is in the DNA of these people and their culture. Young children were paraded about using the simplest of tools like a bucket and sticks to play impressive beats on a drum. Dancing went hand and hand with the music as some of the older children displayed their boisterous yet fluid movements. AfroReggae was bringing the community together and the filmmaker showed this through scenes where community members groomed each other and taught lessons. Anderson was highlighted teaching drum lessons and trying to recruit the youth into AfroReggae. During the falling action of the film, there were many obstacles but it seemed as though there was nothing Anderson the hero could not face. The filmmaker made sure to capture the fear Anderson’s fiancé exhibited towards his lack of concern for his own life. This foreshadowing alarmed me of what was to come. The catastrophic conclusion of this story was more emotional for me than I expected. Anderson frequently spoke of his biggest fear, paralysis. He often had dreams of falling which the filmmaker made me feel Anderson’s dream through a spinning action of the camera. Anderson’s escape was through surfing and the waves of the ocean outside the Favela’s by himself. The filmmaker expressed the soothing feelings Anderson had while surfing through calming music and visual images of rolling waves. Junior, one of the other speakers, said a phrase that stuck me, “God writes wise words in crude penmanship”. That phrase deemed especially important for what happened to Anderson. His biggest fear became a reality as he broke his neck doing what brought him ease. While surfing, Anderson fell and got swallowed up by a wave. As he was twisted and turned by the sea, he hit his head breaking his neck immediately causing him to become a quadriplegic. Luckily, a very prominent Doctor who knew of the AfroRaggae movement waved all medical fees for the care and surgery of Anderson. He wanted to give Anderson the best opportunity possible even though the chance of recovery was minuscule. Anderson, the beacon of hope, symbol of peace, leader of a change had given up. My first thought was that there was a bigger picture to this traumatic experience and it could not be the end for Anderson and the AfroRaggae movement and I was correct. Anderson overcame the minute odds of recovery from his injury. The filmmaker showed Anderson being helped to get dressed for dismissal from the hospital. I again thought of the phrase Junior had said. The part that pushed me over the edge of emotion and brought tears to my eyes was when they asked Anderson if he wanted to leave in a chair or walking himself. One woman said, “Do you want to walk out of here a miracle?” Anderson replied with a yes despite the amount of pain he must have had to endure.

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