What films about informal settlements would you recommend?
April 17, 2012 10:56 AM   Subscribe

Looking for films (fiction and documentary) that represent informal settlements (slums/favelas/etc), primarily in Latin America and India, but also in other regions. Any suggestions?

These could be films explicitly about slums or a slum, or films that primarily take place in slums. The space itself could be foregrounded or simply a backdrop. Could be artsy, could be realist, could be crazy sci-fi; could be short, long, live-action, animated, stop motion: the sky's the limit.

I've seen quite a few (short list below, to give an idea of what I'm looking for, and for anyone who'd like something to watch), but wanted to see if the HiveMind could turn up anything I might have missed.

District 9 (Johannesburg)
City of God / Men (Brazil)
Carandiru (Brazil)
Bus 174 (Brazil)
Manda Bala (Brazil)
Favela Rising (Brazil)
District B13 (France)
Rue cases nègres (Martinique)
Out My Window (NFB interactive doc)

So: tell me your recommendations for films (and TV shows, I suppose) with slums in them.
posted by experiencing a significant gravitas shortfall to Media & Arts (23 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
La Haine (Paris)
Slumdog Millionaire (Mumbai)
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:02 AM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Pixote is a wonderful film (Brazil).
posted by stinker at 11:07 AM on April 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

City of Joy (India)
posted by Neekee at 11:08 AM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by Sidhedevil at 11:08 AM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

For US informal settlements, The Grapes of Wrath and Sullivan's Travels. Cinderella Man has a brief scene of the "Hooverville" that was erected in Central Park during the Depression.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:10 AM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Tropa de Elite, or Elite Squad in English.
posted by maximum sensing at 11:12 AM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

Waste Land is a documentary about garbage pickers in Brazil. It's very moving.
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 11:13 AM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

Born Into Brothels (India)
posted by sugarbomb at 11:14 AM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

Gomorrah takes place in the Scampia slum of Naples. The storylines center on interactions with a crime family, the Camorra, but a substantial part of the film takes place in the slum itself. A bit on the architecture here.
posted by mireille at 11:18 AM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Angela's Ashes (Ireland)
posted by Melismata at 11:18 AM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

The Incredible Hulk (Edward Norton version). The whole opening sequence takes place in a Brazilian favela.
posted by fso at 11:22 AM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

Mira Nair's Salaam Bombay!, which was cast with Mumbai street children
posted by argonauta at 11:33 AM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

Black Orpheus is one of the most beautiful movies ever made and the whole thing takes place in a favela. Wonderful soundtrack too.
posted by latkes at 12:24 PM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

Portugal: Pedro Costa's Bones and In Vanda's Room.

Spain: Barraques. La Ciutat oblidada.
posted by lucia__is__dada at 12:35 PM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Remember Africville: "This short film depicts Africville, a small black settlement that lay within the city limits of Halifax, Nova Scotia. In the 1960s, the families there were uprooted and their homes demolished in the name of urban renewal and integration. More than 20 years later, the site of the community of Africville is a stark, under-utilized park. Former residents, their descendants and some of the decision-makers speak out and, with the help of archival photographs and films, tell the story of that painful relocation."

35 min, available online.
posted by hepta at 12:56 PM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Filmes brasileiros que retratam favelas

Favelas from Rio:

5x favela — actually made by favela dwellers

City of Men — a TV series that's a spinoff from City of God

Show de Bola

Maré, Nossa Hisória de Amor

Sou Feia Mas Tô Na Moda — documentary about the baile funk scene in Rio

Favela on Blast

Fast Five

Favelas from São Paulo:

Profissão MC

Racionais MCs — Vida Loka

Xis — Us mano, as mina

Sabotage — Um Bom Lugar

Pentágono — É o moio
posted by Tom-B at 5:40 PM on April 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Third World Cop

Dancehall Queen

City of M/Ciudad de M

Maria Full of Grace

Ratas Ratones Rateros

Sin Nombre

Amores Perros

La Vendadora de Rosas
posted by Forktine at 5:51 PM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Not to stop the outpouring of filmic awesomeness (keep it coming!), but you folks rock. Best to Forktine and Tom-B for sheer volume of never-heard-of stuffs; kudos to mireille for the added architectural crit; and (and this seems like an "as always") thanks to sidhedevil for being comprehensive.

Y'all rock.

Tune in next week for: representations of slums, fine art edition.
posted by experiencing a significant gravitas shortfall at 10:59 PM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Our Daily Bread
Man's Castle
posted by brujita at 11:05 PM on April 17, 2012

Mumbai slums are seen often in Bollywood movies, especially movies about the underworld/mafia. I'll try to post the ones I remember best.

Kaminey, especially towards the climax
No Smoking has some slum scenes, mostly from a Kafkaesque perspective
Shor in the City
Shaitan (a long chase scene in particular)
Black Friday

Movies from the 70s and 80s in particular were heavily set in slums, but I am unfortunately not too knowledgeable about them. If you can find an expert on Bollywood in the 70s and 80s, it'll be well worth it.
posted by Senza Volto at 12:49 AM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

The list is actually, if not quite endless, at least extremely long, and gets a lot longer if you consider films that use those places as backdrops (like in Fast Five) rather than as the foreground for the entire movie. Here's a few others that popped into my mind later:

Gangster's Paradise: Jerusalema

Rodrigo D: No Futuro

Secuestro Express

Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (this is part two of Tropa de elite, mentioned above)
posted by Forktine at 2:21 AM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Bhadram koduko (there seem to be quite a few clips on YouTube) for that non-Bombay-slum experience.

Nayakan is still set in Bombay, but is a Tamil movie spanning three generations, with some tip o' hat's to Godfather.

Siva was the first movie out there that made an aesthetic virtue out of people being chased through filth and general human depravity in urban Indian slums; basically, the camera runs behind two people chasing each other through a chaotic urban slum setting. You see similar shots in later movies such as Satya, Company and D leading up Slumdog.

Basically, it all depends on how you define a "slum". :)
posted by the cydonian at 8:21 AM on April 18, 2012

Dark Days is worth a mention.
posted by rhizome at 10:26 AM on April 18, 2012

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