As Rio de Janeiro prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, the city introduces a controversial new policing program (Pacifying Police Units - UPPs) in the slums (favelas). Shortly after the police invade the favela of Cantagalo, lifetime resident and acclaimed samba composer - Cathola - is gunned down by the UPP and nearly dies. As Cathola recuperates, his samba composition wins the championships and is selected to be performed at Rio's most prestigious Carnaval parade. Cathola's story weaves together with the intimate personal stories of other artists who are resisting against police brutality and social exclusion through their music and performance art. The artists question the rhetoric of pacification and debate to what extent the arrival of UPPs are intensifying the criminalization of poverty in Rio.
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