Prestes Maia - Freedom in Concrete

  • maine jff
  • ischia

Deeply impressed by the Brazilian radicalism and sheer force of this united action the directors accompany three formerly homeless persons in their present fight for living space.




52 min


Levin Peter and Jonas Ginter


Right at the center of Brazil’s largest city stands a stronghold of the lower class – Prestes Maia, the biggest squatted building in Latin America with 468 families on 22 floors, with 1379 occupants and 1379 personal histories. Lamartine Brasiliano is one of them. “Prestes Maia is a cry for freedom”, says the short, wiry water vendor who earns the money to support himself and his family of seven on a major street crossing. “We’re poor, but we exist”, he adds full of fighting spirit. Prestes Maia is the symbol of this fight.

To the rich and powerful the squatted house is an eyesore. Low income groups and homeless people are not supposed to find a space of their own in the downtown area. Among the glittering facades and helicopter landing pads there must be no reminders of the problems of the lower classes. And that is why Prestes Maia must be broken up. How? With money. Early in 2007 the squatters agreed to be bought out of Prestes Maia. Voluntarily they clear their paradise and move into ghettos way out in the suburbs. Too late they realize that thus they forfeit

their most powerful weapon, the “power of community”. But the occupants are not giving up.

Prestes Maia – Freedom in Concrete is a very personal portrait of the squatters and their stories. Deep insights into strong characters allow for an understanding of the rifts and wounds that mark an uprising society.

Jonas Ginter
Levin Peter
Marla Fee Wilke
Marla Fee Wilke
Levin Peter
Florian Pfeiffer
André Nier
Albrecht Schuch
Luise Walter de Souza
Creative Producer
Thomas Fischer
Reinhardt Beetz
Commissioning Editor
Martin Pieper (ZDF/arte)
Prestes Maia – Freedom in Concrete
  • „Just in diesem Moment überraschen uns die aus dem Theaterbereich stammenden jungen Regisseure Hans Block und Moritz Riesewieck mit einem erstaunlichen Dokumentarfilm, der seit Monaten Publikum und Kritik auf den wichtigsten Festivals der Welt elektrisiert. Völlig zu Recht: Es ist, als würden einem die Scheuklappen weggerissen, als sähe man das, was sich seit Jahren direkt vor unseren Augen abspielt, zum ersten Mal unverschleiert... eine fesselnde ,Doku noir' mit höchstem Anspruch...Dieser Film müsste an allen Schulen gezeigt werden.“
    Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

In co-production with

  • wdr

In co-production with

  • zdf

In collaboration with

  • arte

Supported by

  • mitteldeutsche Medienförderung
  • media