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Manda Bala/Send a Bullet

Slyly persuasive Errol-Morris-style
By PETER KEOUGH  |  September 12, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars
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MANDA BALA/SEND A BULLET: A frog farm, the new Brazilian economy.

Brazil reels from corruption, poverty, and violence, but it remains perversely functional. That may be what’s most disturbing in Jason Kohn’s sly and illuminating documentary, in which, Errol Morris–style, he weaves seemingly disparate elements to produce a persuasive insight. Grainy video of a terrorized kidnapped victim about to lose an ear segues to a frog farm and then to a doctor’s description of ear restoration — it’s the new Brazilian economy! Politicians steal money from projects designed to help the poor, whereupon the poor move to São Paulo and kidnap rich people, providing customers for plastic surgeons and companies that armor-plate Porsches. The gung-ho cops of the anti-kidnapping squad and the idealistic DAs trying to prosecute the crooked politicians seem, at best, quixotic. The only hope? “That’s the future of Brazil,” says a masked, cold-blooded kidnapper about his 10 kids. “Someday one will become president and fix this mess.”
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  Topics: Reviews , Errol Morris
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