Human Rights Abuses and State Violence in Prison Films by Hector Babenco

  • Antônio Márcio da Silva


This chapter engages with Argentine-Brazilian late director Hector Babenco’s trilogy-like prison films: Pixote: a lei do mais fraco/Pixote (1980), O beijo da mulher aranha/Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) and Carandiru (2003). It argues that these films successfully illustrate the engagement of Babenco’s work with issues concerning human rights violations in Brazilian prisons over a period of thirty years, which ended in the current century. By engaging with these three films, this chapter aims to demonstrate that despite depicting different contexts of imprisonment in two different countries (Brazil and an imaginary Latin American nation), Babenco’s work exposes human rights abuse and shows that the respective countries’ correctional systems apply more retrograde means of power assertion and control of inmates than the more sophisticated approach of the panopticon discussed by Foucault.


Hector Babenco Prison films State violence Panopticon Foucault 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antônio Márcio da Silva
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Literature and LanguagesUniversity of SurreyGuildfordUK
  2. 2.Queen Mary University of LondonLondonUK

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