Carandiru is a 2003 Brazilian drama film directed by Héctor Babenco. It is based on the book Estação Carandiru by Dr. Drauzio Varella, a physician and AIDS specialist, who is portrayed in the film by Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos. Carandiru tells some of the stories that occurred in Carandiru Penitentiary, which was the biggest prison in Latin America. The story culminates with the 1992 massacre where 111 prisoners were killed, 102 by Police. The film was the last thing for which the prison was used before it was demolished in 2002, one year before the release of the film. Babenco states that Carandiru is the “most realistic film [he’s] ever made,” presenting a new kind of Brazilian realism inspired by Cinema Novo (not only is it meant to portray different sides of Brazil, but also it was shot on location and used many actual prisoners as actors). Due to this focus on portraying reality and the film’s memoir inspiration, Carandiru can be read as a docudrama or as a testimony from the prisoners.
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