On the surface, Bus 174 is a documentary using real-time media footage to explore events surrounding Sandro do Nascimento’s hijacking of a public bus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, taking eleven hostages at gunpoint. Because of a lack of police barricades, the footage of the hijacking is intense and close, providing viewers with the sense of watching from a nearby street corner. Bus 174, however, does far more than cover the hijacking. It explores many of Brazil’s socio-economic issues, including the country’s attitudes toward the problem of homeless street children. Filmmakers use interviews with the hostages, police officers, and family and friends to profile do Nascimento, a survivor of the infamous 1993 Candelaria street-kids massacre, in which seven children were murdered. The life of do Nascimento structures the narrative of the film, exploring how his life as a homeless child led to his fight for attention in a city that ignored his voice, and the voices of other homeless children. This is a story of poverty, social ostracism, and violence that “just happened” to appear live before the world. Bus 174 was directed by Jose Padilha, who also served as producer with Marcos Prado. Sheila Nevins was executive producer for Cinemax Reel Life with Sara Bernstein as producer. Videographers Cezar Moraes and Marcelo Guru captured much of the footage in this film. For their efforts to transform an immediately tragic story into a complex exploration of homelessness, the plight of street children and the problems within the Brazilian prison system, a Peabody Award goes to Bus 174.
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