We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
Sandro do Nascimento is not merely poor, or hungry, or doomed to poverty, but suffers from the agonizing psychic distress of being invisible. Yes, says the movie, literally invisible: Brazilians with homes and jobs go about their lives while unable to see people like Sandro, who exists in a parallel universe.
In North America, we have similar blindness. One of the blessings of the Streetwise paper is that it provides not only income for its vendors, but visibility; by giving them a role, it gives us a way to relate to them -- to see them, to nod, to say a word or two, whether or not we buy the paper.
"Bus 174" opens with a news bulletin about the attempted robbery on the bus and then, as the bus is surrounded by police and the robber takes hostages, provides details about do Nascimento's early life. He saw his mother stabbed to death in a robbery. His father was not in the picture. He lived on the streets and survived an infamous police massacre of homeless who used a downtown square as a sleeping area. He had been in jail. We listen to a social worker who talks of the boy's dreams -- of how he wanted to find a job and have a home.
Meanwhile, negotiations continue in the hostage situation. Several of the police who were involved (one hooded and his voice disguised) talk about their decisions and mistakes. After do Nascimento threatened to kill hostages -- and after police for a time thought he had killed one --there were many opportunities for a sniper to take him out with one shot. He walked around in plain view, sometimes not close to his hostages, but the police didn't act until the crisis reached a climax in the evening.