Long on emotion but short on solution, Pixote(pronounced "pishot") tells the store of a pre-teen boy (Fernando Ramos Da Silva) living in the squalor of São Paulo, Brazil. He spends the first half of the film in an awful juvenile delinquent center, then escapes and spends the latter half in the company of a few friends as they gang up to rob the customers of a prostitute friendly to their cause.

Director Hector Babenco wants to expose the problems of the Brazilian poor to the world, and while it's all very brutal and gritty, unfortunately he muddles his story with no sympathetic character at all. By the end, we've judged Pixote as just another gutterpunk, not a victim. He's written his own destiny, and we've written him off. Frankly, American versions of this have done better by portraying the victims as well as the victimizers -- namely Larry Clark in Kids.

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