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Original author: 
Amar Toor

Heat_seeking_large

Recently released video of a police shootout in a Brazilian slum has ignited controversy in Rio de Janeiro, raising important questions about the city's crackdown on crime ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics — both of which will be hosted in Rio.

The black-and-white video, captured using heat-seeking technology last May, was recorded from a police helicopter during a pursuit of Márcio José Sabino Pereira — a 36-year-old convicted drug trafficker who went by the name "Mathematician." The helicopter tracks Mathematician through the densely populated slum of Favela da Coréia, before unloading a torrent of bullets just as he entered a car. As the New York Times reports, some of these bullets hit buildings surrounding...

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By JAMES ESTRIN

David Alan Harvey has documented Brazil many times before, but in "(based on a true story)," he nakedly reveals his thoughts and experiences in a tale of passion, mystery and danger.

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Deep inside the massive favela called Brasilandia, one of the biggest of Sao Paulo’s wretched slums, lives Rose with her husband Ivo and their three disabled children. Their surname: “Amor Divino,” translates as Divine Love. Read photographer Nacho Doce’s personal account of documenting the families life.

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It's not every day you stumble across a video game that is, at its core, about the fear and pain of growing up with an alcoholic, abusive father. But it's just that kind of personal backstory that makes upcoming PS3 indie puzzle platformer Papo & Yo stand out among crowds of first-person shooters and throwaway casual games that seem to be the focus of much of the industry these days.

Not that the game is in your face about its message. You can play Papo & Yo and be totally unaware of the specific inspiration for the game's hulking pink monster, who can eat frogs to transform from being young protagonist Quico's best friend into an uncontrollable force of nature that is Quico's biggest threat. But creator Vander Caballero said he hopes the metaphorical beast will convey the feelings he had growing up in a house with just such an unpredictable parent.

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Miss Favela bar scene in Brooklyn, NY. Photo by Isabela Eseverri  – One light off camera

Rooftop party in Manhattan, NY. Photo by Madeleine Stevens – One light on camera

 

We  just did a one day small strobe lighting class in my loft in NY where I will be spending the next two weeks guiding photographers into  taking their personal next step. Both Madeleine and Isabela were out in the Saturday night scene practicing as seen above what they had learned from us during the day. I encourage photographers to “get personal” so even a one day tech class like this one becomes after all an exploration in doing work that is somehow a mirror of individual predilections.

The students who are here for a week, will take this process much further and show their work on this Friday evening at the loft in front of a cast of the best and brightest in photoland and let off by shows by both Chris Anderson and Bruce Gilden.

I will post work from time to time this week from this essay class. Stay tuned. You will see some very nice work shot right now by these very serious photographers.

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The children were very concentrated on painting the favela wall, but when I climbed up a house to take a panoramic shot I realized how tiny that one wall was among so much poverty.

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the most dangerous favela of Rio de Janeiro
After a harsh confrontation between police and the army against a gang of drug dealers, the security forces in Brazil have managed to gain control of the favela of Vila Cruzeiro, one of the most dangerous of Rio

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One of the films featured on our extensive Best Movies of 2010 That You Probably Haven’t Heard Of list was a Brazilian action movie titled Elite Squad 2: The Enemy Within. The original Elite Squad was released in 2007 (now available on DVD), and was highly acclaimed by critics and moviegoers.

I screened Elite Squad 2 at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, without having seen the first film (as I was told that was not a requirement — although I plan on checking it out when I return home). From director José Padilha, the highly acclimed filmmaker behind Bus 174, comes a crime thriller which might be best described as a cross between The Departed, The Wire and The Godfather.

The story is set in crime-infused slum area favelas of Rio de Janeiro — an area which has been explored on screen in the Oscar-nominated City Of God and the documentary Manda Bala, which suggested that the violent street crime was linked to higher political corruption.

This film explores this idea, with Wagner Moura reprising his role as Roberto Nascimento, rising from commander-in-chief of Rio’s BOPE (Special Police Operations Battalion) to sub-secretary of intelligence. As he eliminates drug trafficking in favelas, he realizes that he is working side-by-side with his real enemies — corrupt cops and dirty politicians. Fans of the first film may be in for a shock, as I’ve heard this is an entirely different movie.

Beautifully captured on film – gritty, bloody and dirt covered. Even though the movie is more of a crime thriller than an action film, the chase sequences sequences down narrow slum streets and street shootouts are exciting and well executed. Elite Squad 2 is one of those rare films which plays for the masses, not only succeeding as entertainment but delves into serious issues about the social reality in Brazil.

/Film Rating: 8 out of 10

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