THE NETHERLANDS, BRAZIL / 2004 / Portuguese / Color / 35mm (1:1.66) / 100 min
Director, Script: Maria Augusta Ramos
Photography: Flávio Zangrandi
Editing: Virgínia Flores, Maria Augusta Ramos, Joana Collier
Sound: Valéria Ferro
Producers: Niek Koppen, Jan de Ruiter, Renée van der Grinten
Production Company, World Sales: Selfmade Films
The camera journeys into Rio de Janeiros’ courts and prisons to portray the periphery of “Justice” in the daily routines of the people who chose to be there and those who have no choice. The great disparity between the financial situations and home environments of the judges and the judged, the air in the deepest sections of the overcrowded prisons, the anguish of those labeled criminals and their families—the camera’s unflinching gaze captures the conditions created by the “judging” that occurs under the name of Justice.
[Director’s Statement] During research for a documentary in Rio de Janeiro, I attended some hearings at the Courts of Justice and was surprised, moved and inspired by the tragedies and personal dramas I witnessed in those courtrooms. In a way, the courts represent a microcosm of Brazilian society with its structures of power and class injustices. Justice is an attempt at understanding the Brazilian reality: its complexities and contradictions. The main characters were an essential source of inspiration for me throughout the film.
I am very grateful for their trust, their commitment to the film and their generosity to me.
Maria Augusta Ramos
Born 1964 in Brasília. After graduating from the University of Brasília (B.A. in music, piano and contemporary music), Maria moved to Europe where she studied musicology and electroacoustic music in Paris at the Groupe de Recherche Musicale and after that in London at City University. In 1990, she moved to the Netherlands where she entered the Netherlands Film and Television Academy, specializing in documentary direction. Her first feature documentary Brasília—A Day in February (1995) was awarded the Special Prize of the Jury at the ‘It’s All True’ International Documentary Film Festival (Sao Paulo, Brazil). Other works include I Think What I Want to Say . . . (1993) which was screened at YIDFF ’95 New Asian Currents, Butterflies in Your Stomach (1998) and Desi (2000), winner of the Audience Award at the 2000 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and the Golden Calf for best full length documentary film at the 2001 Netherlands Film Festival. Justice has won several awards including the Grand Prix at the Visions du Réel (Nyon), the La Vague d’Or of Best Film prize at the International Festival of Women in Cinema (Bordeaux), the Special Mention Amnesty Award at the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival and the Grand Prize at the 2004 Taiwan International Documentary Festival.