At Alemão, preview of the documentary 4 X UPP shows how is the life inside the pacified communities

Tuesday, May 24, 2021

by Priscila Piffer


Last Saturday (21/05), the Nova Brasília Cinema Club, at Coplexo do Alemão, Rio’s North Zone, welcomed a special preview: the documentary 4 X UPP. The film was directed by four young filmmakers who live in pacified communities in Rio, and the project was coordinated by Cacá Diegues, one of the most prominent Brazilian filmmakers. The preview was attended by the four directors and by the project coordinator, as well as by the Chief Commander of the Pacifying Police Units (UPPs), Col. Robson Rodrigues.

Divided into 25-minutes short films, the documentary shows different aspects of the UPPs. Each episode investigates a different social group involved in the project: the criminals (by Luciano Vidigal); the residents (by Cadu Barcellos); the police officers (Rodrigo Felha) and the residents of the neighborhoods surrounding the favelas (Wagner Novais). The four directors also participated in the famous 5 X Favela – Now by Ourselves.

Besides interviews with the Security Secretary, José Mariano Beltrame, with UPP commanders and with residents and former drug traffickers, the film touches subjects that are still considered polemic inside the occupied communities, such as the permission to throw parties (“bailes funk”) and the inspection of suspects. Col. Robson, who represented the Secretary on the preview, was very pleased with the results and said he was not surprised when he heard that the UPPs were the subject of a documentary. “It’s fantastic to observe how this is a time for reflection. The film makes many interesting points and shows how much we still have to advance, how we still have prejudices to beat. These prejudiced were built during many many years, and it’s going to take us quite a few years to undo them, but we will. A lot has changed already, but the UPP is not the only way to bring security to these communities. It is a project inserted into a larger program, which aims at bringing down the crime rates,” stated the Col., who also said that the film is going to be used as teaching material for officers who are already working on UPPs and for those who are still in training.

Many foreign journalists were among the guests of the preview. According to the organizer of the ACIE (Foreign Press Association in Brazil) film festival and correspondent of the Latin Trade magazine, Mery Galanternick, just a few years ago it would be impossible to have this many guests at Complexo do Alemão. Now this is possible due to the successful security implemented by Rio’s Governor Sérgio cabral and by Rio’s Security Secretary, José Mariano Beltrame. “I wouldn’t be able to bring this many foreign correspondents without fearing something might happen, without asking the drug trafficker and the militia’s leaders for permission. I’m very happy to be able to do this now,” said Mery.

The first screening of the film happened in the beginning of the month, during the Brazilian Film Festival in Paris, and counted on the presence of the Security Secretary. During a debate at the Institut d’Études Politiques, Beltrame stressed that there are still many challenges on his path. “Public security is a delicate issue and we have huge challenges to overcome, but we’ve been achieving some inspiring results, and I know how strong the name UPP is nowadays, both inside and outside of Brazil. People need to understand that those communities were living in a state of war before we entered,” he stated.

In spite of this preview, the documentary still doesn’t have a national release date. “When we were finishing our work on the film, in November last years, the occupation of the Alemão took place, and we decided to film a 5th episode, directed by the four of us collectively. Therefore, we are waiting for this last part to be done, and only then we’ll be able to release the film, in September or maybe October. We are also changing the name of the film to 5 X UPP, explained Cacá Diegues.