»Invisible Citizens« is a documentary on those who are excluded in Rio de Janeiro, both socially and spatially. The main protagonists of the film are the members of a working-class family living in one of over 600 squatter settlements (favelas) in the city. Their daily life represents the drama of an invisible citizenry, today so widespread that it is perceived as »normal«. Over one fifth of the city’s population, estimated at 2.2 million people, live in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, caught between the violence of drug traffic and the police. Every day the predominantly Afro-Brazilian population in the favelas struggles to overcome the widespread prejudice against the favelados and to improve their living conditions by their hard, honest work and close family ties.
A film by CHRISTIAN CARLOS KEIL
Director of Photography GABRIEL SANDRU
Sound RAFAEL CORRÊA DE MELO, JOÃO DAS NEVES LIMA
Editor RENÉ PERALTA DOMINGUEZ, MARC UHLIG
Dramatic Adviser TILMAN SACK
Executive Producer CHRISTIAN CARLOS KEIL
Assistant Producer TURAN O.S. TEHRANI
Sound Design JOSCHI KAUFMANN
Translation SARAH MATTHEWS
Graphic Design TIMM KEKERITZ
Rio de Janeiro is a city of contradictions, surrounded by a web of myths. Yet Rio is neither the »Marvellous City« (»Cidade Maravilhosa«), nor »Hell’s Kitchen« as it is fabled to be, but instead a place in which life can be found pulsating between all extremes. It is a reflection of global inequality, with all of its conflicts concentrated in a single city.
A total of approximately 600 favelas of varying sizes are known to exist in Rio today. But in tourist maps of the city they appear only as unsettled green areas entitled with their respective local names. And this despite the fact that many have existed for decades and undergone a remarkable process of consolidation. What were once scattered groupings of wooden shacks are now urban neighbourhood communities. Densely constructed, the improvised architecture of brick houses is connected by a labyrinth of narrow allies and stairways. Due to the uncontrollability of these areas and the absence of the state, favelas became the preferred marketplace for drugs. The role of the police is merely to contain the violence within those boundaries. While the police are the instrument of the powerful, they are also influential actors, feared for their violence and corruption. Fear and violence are part of everyday life in the city. But people have somehow adjusted to it. Enduring solutions are not at hand, since politicians set their sights on short-term results, which they achieve at times through police repression.
But the real problem still remains: a society which is rooted in social injustice.
Previous film project »ORO VERDE – Green Gold«, a documentary on coca and the cocaine problem in Bolivia was realised in 2004/05.
For thousands of years the coca plant has been used for medicinal, nutritive, social and religious purposes throughout the Andean region. However, rising cocaine consumption in the 20th Century and harsh international anti-drug policy have created complex and unresolved problems in Bolivia, the poorest country in South America.
More at www.oroverde-film.de
Christian Carlos Keil