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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Poverty > Drugs > Music > Rio de Janerio > Favela Rising (2005)

Favela Rising (2005)


Picture: C Sound: C+ Extras: C+ Documentary: B



One of the more interesting documentaries you are likely to miss is the Matt Mochary/Jeff Zimbalist work Favela Rising, a 2005 look at murder and drug trafficking in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. Instead of being a one-note work, the first quarter pains a grim picture, then suddenly shifts gears and focuses on Anderson Sa, who gets sick and tired of the situation and begins an underground publication that speaks of politics as much as music. The combining Hip Hop, Rap, Brazilian and African music forms, becomes a huge music star with appositive message.


The grim statistics continue (cops killing citizens, drug kingpins killing cops, etc.) as he rises to fame, but it turns out his music, his messages against black on black violence, history lessons and a resulting new unity that was much needed are the results. This is not merely a feel good story because the situation is still bad and the road during success is not easy for Sa, but it shows the power of music with a message that we do not hear enough of in the first world. This is one we should all take note of.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image varies in quality throughout and much of the footage is analog NTSC, low def digital or other sources that are typical of documentaries and some of this footage could have got the tapers killed. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is not bad, boosting the usually simple stereo or mono sources, but benefiting Sas music the most. Both are nicely edited together. Extras include a Music Video, the original theatrical trailer and a behind the scenes look at the making of featurette.



- Nicholas Sheffo


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