This project analyzes three documentaries that explore the inherent tensions and difficulties in building a sense of community in three different settings in Rio de Janeiro. The documentaries Boca de Lixo (1993), Santo forte (1999), and Edifí­cio Master (2002) by Eduardo Coutinho present an in-depth look at the tensions inherent in developing communal identity based on vocation in Boca de Lixo, religion in Santo forte, and location in Edifício Master. Through these documentaries, Eduardo Coutinho presents the difficulties faced by different groups of people in Brazil as they explore the development of a sense of community. Boca de Lixo endeavors to understand the tension between using a sense of community to bolster one's self-respect and personal pride in the face of perceived outsider contempt. Santo forte addresses the problems associated with establishing a sense of community in a favela that contains various different religious traditions, each vying for more members at the cost of the others. Edifí­cio Master focuses on the difficulties of developing a sense of community within an apartment building in Copacabana, and in this film Coutinho explores the power of storytelling as an alternative method for creating communal identity. Together these three films examine the resiliency of the human spirit while challenging various forms of prejudice and stereotypes within Brazilian culture.



College and Department

Humanities; Spanish and Portuguese



Date Submitted


Document Type





Eduardo Coutinho, community, identity, stereotypes, prejudice, Boca de Lixo, Santo forte, Edifí­cio Master