"Pixote" (1981) stands as one of the first films to depict the lives of young street children in Brazil's largest metropolitan cities. The movie has a documentary like feel and explores the many struggles faced by these impoverished children; police brutality and corruption, mistreatment, drugs, sexual abuse, prostitution, murder - the list goes on. These conditions seem unbearable, even for an adult.
Fernando Ramos da Silva was selected from 1,300 applicants for the main role of Pixote. At the time he lived in underprivileged conditions in Diadema, a São Paulo slum, with his widowed mother and eight brothers and sisters. The film's success catapulted him into the limelight of the Brazilian entertainment industry, but only for a brief moment. Nevertheless, he always hoped to reestablish his value as an actor.
After returning to Diadema, he ended up falling into crime and was arrested twice. He believed that he was being persecuted by police because of the film. Stating that the police could not distinguish between the role and his actual personality.
Fernando was shot and killed by police in 1987, he was only 19. Following a robbery, police say they found him armed and they exchanged gun fire. None of the witnesses confirm this story. His sister claims that he was playing cards at a friends house when he heard the police were raiding the neighborhood. Worried that they might arrest or harass him, he fled unarmed. The autopsy shows that he had been shot eight times.
No one has been arrested for the death despite much evidence that there may have been foul play. Fernando left behind a teenage wife and baby daughter. A 1996 documentary film titled, "Quem Matou Pixote? (Who killed Pixote)," investigates the actor's fast life.
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