Brazil 2007, Documentary, 90' | Director, Screenplay Maria Ramos | DoP Guy Goncalves | Editor Maria Ramos, Joana Collier | Sound Pedro Sá Earp , José Moreau Louzeiro , Denilson Campos | Production Thiego Balteiro

Juízo means something like “behave”. In the Brazilian penal system, adolescents are to be taught how to become “useful” members of society. Maria Ramos’ documentary impressively demonstrates that this cannot work: during trials it can be seen that the kids from the favelas do not even know the meaning of “objection”, and that in their struggle for survival they will have no other choice than to return to committing crimes. The judge and lawyers are also aware of this, and this results in a number of scenes in which the absurdity of the situation is exposed quite clearly.

With Juízo, Maria Ramos continues her examination of the Brazilian judicial system, which she began with her previous film Justiça. The actual accused were not allowed to be filmed, for legal reasons. For this reason Ramos had them portrayed by stand-ins who also come from the favelas.

"The first time I attended hearings in a Juvenile Court, the faces of the minors lingered in my mind for days. When I decided to make Juízo, I was faced with a challenge: how to make a film without showing their faces? My solution was to replace the minors in question 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 as the minors they are depicting. Their authenticity in the film results from it. They do not "act", they are themselves: their individual personalities are fundamental in the film." Maria Ramos


MARIA RAMOS was born in 1964 in Brasília. She studied music at the University of Brasília, in Paris and London. From 1990 she attended the Netherlands Film and Television Academy (NFTA), where she specialised in documentary film. Her first full-length film Brasília – Um Dia en Fevreiro was highly acclaimed and was awarded the Jury Prize at the Documentary Film Festival in Saõ Paulo. Justiça won a total of nine awards, including the Grand Prize for Best Film at the Visions du Réel documentary film festival in Nyon.

Maria Ramos
Focus: Freedom