Maria Ramos

A sharp analysis of the youth legal system in Brazil. Surroundings without prospects lead to large numbers of juvenile delinquents who then find themselves in an apparently impotent legal system, without many prospects of better times.

With her prize-winning documentary Justice, Maria Ramos exposed the Brazilian judicial system to a revealing close examination. With Behave the director, who lives in Holland, turns to her fatherland again. She has made a shocking portrait of the way young and often poor delinquents are tried in court.
An endless series of cases fills the monotonous space of the courthouse. Day in day out, the judge Luciana Fiala faces the important yet almost impossible task of judging and punishing young thieves, murderers and crooks in a way that has any point to it. Her passionate, dominant actions do not conquer the hopeless situation facing the delinquents, whether they are released or sent to a prison in inhuman conditions. In Brazil, minors may not be filmed. So during the court cases, Ramos films the real judges, prosecutors, defenders and parents, but uses stand-ins for the young defendants.
What could have been a pitfall and evoked discussions about authenticity reveals itself to be a valuable choice in substance and form. The stand-ins are all kids with a similar background to those in the dock and so only one step away from a similar fate in theory. As a result, the scale and depth of the drama taking place in this enormous country can be seen on a terrifying scale.


Maria Ramos
90 minutes
children and youth, courts & tribunals, transitional justice, crime, poverty, prison & detention