Accused of crimes ranging from bicycle theft, cocaine smuggling, armed assault and premeditated murder, young Brazilians under eighteen years of age are brought before the Court of Justice in Rio de Janeiro before being sent to the Padre Severino Institute, a correctional institution for minors. Using real cases, Maria Augusta Ramos' latest documentary follows these young criminals who have committed more or less serious offences. (…) Maria Augusta Ramos films these young people, victims and executioners, adults before their time, with simplicity and respect. Showing the extremely difficult living conditions in the prison for minors suggestively, through the use of off-screen space, proves it is possible to deal with a heavy subject tactfully and with tenderness, and without sensationalism. The accused and the legal system are faced with the same conundrum: how to behave in a society that does not offer them what they need for a decent life?
Locarno IFF 2007
There are images that one does not forget, that stay in one's mind. The first time I attended hearings in a Juvenile Court, the faces of the minors (the accused adolescents) remained in my mind for days. When I decided to make Juizo and faced the legal constraints of disclosing the minors' identity, I was imposed a challenge: how to make a film without showing those faces? My solution was to replace the real minors with other youngsters who have themselves lived in similar circumstances of social marginalization and violence and who could very easily be in the same situation themselves. These youngsters share the same conflict and agony with the minors they are depicting…They do not 'act', they are themselves: their individual personalities are fundamental in the film.
Maria Augusta Ramos
Maria Augusta Ramos was born in Brasilia in1964. After studying music at the University of Brasilia, she pursued studies in musicology in Paris, then London. In 1991, she enrolled at the Film and Television Academy in Holland, specialising in documentary film. Her first film, Brasilia, a Day in February, was extremely well received and won the Jury Prize at the São Paulo Documentary Film Festival. Butterflies in Your Stomach, a series of documentary shorts that she made in 1998 for Dutch television, was awarded the Best Children's Programme prize. Her subsequent films were also screened at international festivals and Justiçia (2004) won several prestigious prizes.
1993 I Think What I Want to Say Is..
1994 Boy and Aleid
1995 Um Dia en Fevreiro / Brasília, a day in February (dok. / doc.)
1996 Two times at Home (kr.m. / short)
1999 The secret of the vibrato (wideo / video)
2000 Desi (dok. / doc.)
2002 Rio, a day in August (wideo / video)
2004 Justiça / Justice (dok. / doc.)
2006 Designing for pleasure (wideo / video)
2007 Juízo (dok. / doc.)