Monday, February 18, 2008

Award winning Brazilian film director calls for legalisation of drugs to halt violence

The Berlin film festival has given its top prize to a violent new movie dealing with police corruption and brutality in Brazil. The film focuses on police battling drug dealers in Rio de Janeiro’s slums. Director Jose Padilha is quoted in the reuters press release saying that legalising drugs is the only way to break the cycle of violence that is associated with the illegal drugs trade.

The Golden Bear, Germany’s answer to an Oscar, was awarded to The Elite Squad despite its high violence content. Many have argued that the film is deeply disturbing: one reviewer claiming it was a "recruitment film for fascist thugs" however others argued that it highlighted the moral dilemma that enforcement agencies face regularly in much of Latin America.

The movie is already a huge hit in Brazil where violence and poverty are rife.It shows policemen and drug warlords that commit torture but also lambasts the rich for financing drug crime. Brazilian director Padilha says that when he was making the film he tried to focus on the violence of crime and poverty without being swayed by right or left wing politics."

Violent Brazil cop drama named best film in Berlin (from Reuters)

Here’s a clip of the movie, and it will be in the UK soon so you can make your own mind up whether its any good or not. Either way it is usefully provoking a debate around the way illicit drug profits are fueling violence and misery in some the poorest and marginalised communities in the world - and what might possibly be done to address some of these problems.

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