Director José Padilha (Bus 174) follows up his Golden Bear-winning Elite Squad (TFF '08) with this austere, unflinching examination of the realities of chronic hunger for three Brazilian families. Rosa, Robertina, and Lucia live in variously urbanized areas of Brazil, but all share the daily struggle with acute undernourishment, which forces them to feed their children garapa, a cheap mixture of sugar and water effective at staving off hunger pangs but devoid of nutritional value. This is a degree of poverty relegated to statistics, too often stripped of its human face and of the lived experience of such profound deprivation.
Garapa gives meaning to the staggering but abstract figures on worldwide malnutrition: According to the UN, 910 million people suffer from chronic hunger today, and the numbers are expected to rise due to rising food prices. The power of these numbers only resonates once one has seen life with Rosa, Robertina, and Lucia through Padilha's distinct lens. Theirs is the story of starvation as a way of life, conveyed through arresting, grainy cinematography and evocative long takes. At once intimate and universal, Padilha's hauntingly visual film humanizes the enormity of the global hunger crisis.
Length: 106 minutes
Premiere: North American
Director: José Padilha
Producers: José Padilha, Marcos Prado
Executive Producers: James D'Arcy, Mariana Bentes
Director of Photography: Marcela Bourseau
Editor: Felipe Lacerda
Sound: Yan Saldanha
Sound Mixer: Rodrigo Noronha
José Padilha (b. 1967, Rio de Janeiro) is one of the founding partners of Zazen Produções. Padilha wrote, produced, and directed Elite Squad, which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival. In 2007, he produced and directed the short documentary Charcoal for Live Earth, and he produced Marcos Prado's Estamira, winner of 33 awards. For Bus 174, his first theatrical direction, Padilha was honored by the Directors Guild of America for outstanding directorial achievement. He has also produced the documentaries Pantanal Cowboys, Facing the Jaguar, and Os Pantaneiros, which he also directed.