The Posse- On Life Series BBC-TVE




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The Posse

The gap between rich and poor in Brazil is greater than anywhere else in the world - and that gap is nowhere more evident in the sprawling city of São Paulo, with its 15 million population living in conditions ranging from millionaires' penthouses to rat-infested tenements and shantytowns - favelas. This is where City Life meets the Posse - a group of six young friends, united by their love of rap music, trying to make the best of their lives against all the odds.

The Posse is linked to the hip-hop movement. They meet on Sundays, and try to raise awareness about the problems in their community - about garbage polluting the stream near the favela.




Vander, the 'President' of the posse, joins a demonstration of teachers, university professors and landless workers down the Avenida Paulista, where 70 per cent of the nation's wealth is said to flow. They're protesting that too much of that wealth goes to too few people. Vander says there should be a new tax on the rich to redistribute some of the wealth.

One of the Posse, Dinha, has made it to university - and this has only made her more aware of the inequalities in Brazilian society. "When I leave the favela to go to university, I come across lots of things that are out of my reach: restaurants, shops. . . I think, how come if I don't have anything - if lots of people don't have anything - other people have so much? I wasn't that conscious of that before."

Alexandre, a partner in a city law firm, admits that it would be impossible for someone from a favela to join the firm, because they select from the elite. He agrees that they are too comfortable with the situation as it is to change their ways. But now they are being forced into change by the growing violence in society. Globalisation and a deregulated society have brought prosperity to Alexandre - and huge fortunes for some of the city's entrepreneurs.


Marcos de Moraes, the young Director of Zip.net, which he started in 1996, has just been bought out - for US$ 365 million - and a lot of it went to him. Now he wants to use some of his money to give poor people a better education by providing computers for schools in the favelas.

There is a great thirst for knowledge in São Paulo. Even in a rat-infested shelter for the homeless, Life finds Juan Borges da Silva, a former clown, who is priming himself for the knowledge economy by reading books he has found around the neighbourhood. As Dinha says: "By providing better education, you are able to build up a nation."

Dinha would change "all these neo-liberal policies" too. And another Posse member, Du, says that land reforms should be high on the agenda, because "if you don't have a place to live, you have no dignity".


The Posse turns their frustrations and experiences into music. They compose their songs together, weaving them from their experience of daily life. Xand explains: "If I experience violence during the day, I talk about it - if it is about discrimination I talk about that. I talk about my days as they happen. I don't like talking about fantasy, I talk about the reality."

The film ends with a quotation from Mikhail Gorbachev: 'Will the world turn into one big Brazil, into countries with complete inequality and ghettos for the rich élite?' Not if the Posse has anything to do with it.

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