Thinking Aloud About Film: Pixote (Hector Babenco, Brazil, 1981)

We’re both glad to find that PIXOTE retains all of the power we remember it for from decades ago when we first saw it. A realist political film whose aim it is to reveal conditions of existence as a pre-condition for creating change. It’s a film highly judgmental of systemic corruption, particularly as it effects children, but very open and accepting about different ways of being, with one of the earliest, most rounded and complex characterisations of a teen trans character either of us remember seeing. In this podcast we discuss the achievements of the film; it’s realist ‘documentary’ style, the extraordinary performances from the children and from Marilia Pera as the ageing prostitute, the power of its imagery; how we suspect it would be even harder to make and show today then it was then; we discuss the context in which the film was shown on British Television, we compare it to Buñuel’s LOS OLVIDADOS/ THE YOUNG AND THE DAMNED, Fernano Meirelles and Kátia Lund’s CITY OF GOD, and Alan Clarke’s SCUM; and we discuss the racial mix of the group of children and its significance.

The podcast may be listened to here:


The podcast can also be listened to on Spotify here:

and on itunes here:

For those of you interested in following up on some aspects of the discussion. Here is a discussion of the death of Fernando Ramos da Silva, who plays Pixote:


Here’s the trailer for the Channel 4 “Red Triangle” season, which helped create a context in which the film was then seen in its first UK television showing:

When the film was first screened on British Television it carried a Special Discretion Required symbol, as you can see below. The TV Times Review and Listing is by David Quinlan. Many thanks to Sheldon Hall for providing it to us,

Richard informs me that the above is the roundup of the week’s films, the one below is from the day’s TV listings (and unlike the film it misgenders Lilica!).

José Arroyo

Leave a Reply