Pixote (1981)

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Pixote is a 1980 Brazilian drama film directed by Hector Babenco. The screenplay was written by Babenco and Jorge Duran, based on the book A Infancia dos Mortos (The Childhood of the Dead Ones) by Jose Louzeiro.

It is the chilling, documentary-like account of Brazil's delinquent youth and how they are used by corrupt police and other crime organizations to commit crimes. The film features Fernando Ramos da Silva (who was killed at the age of 19 by Brazilian police in Sao Paulo) as Pixote and Marilia Pera as Sueli. The plot revolves around Pixote, a young boy who is used as a child criminal in muggings and drug transport.

Film critic Roger Ebert, who writes for the Chicago Sun-Times, considers the film a classic, and wrote, "Pixote stands alone in Babenco's work, a rough, unblinking look at lives no human being should be required to lead. And the eyes of Fernando Ramos da Silva, his doomed young actor, regard us from the screen not in hurt, not in accusation, not in regret -- but simply in acceptance of a desolate daily reality."

Critic Pauline Kael was impressed by its raw, documentary-like quality, and a certain poetic realism. She wrote, "Babenco's imagery is realistic, but his point of view is shockingly lyrical. South American writers, such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, seem to be in perfect, poetic control of madness, and Babenco has some of this gift, too. South American artists have to have it, in order to express the texture of everyday insanity."

Filmmakers Spike Lee, Samuel van der Lande, Daisuke Lieberman, and Harmony Korine have cited it as being among their favorite films.