Manda Bala (Send a Bullet) (2007)


Manda Bala (Send a Bullet) (2007)

Several stories are told simultaneously: a frog farm in northern Brasil launders money for a corrupt politician; a young woman who was kidnapped for ransom talks about her ordeal; a plastic surgeon discusses then demonstrates how to reconstruct a severed ear; a young business man has his cars armored and takes a course in evasive driving; a policeman in Sao Paulo's anti-kidnapping squad discusses his work; a civil engineer, the attorney general, and a district attorney describe their anti-corruption efforts. Violence and corruption is Brasil: the object is money.
IMDb   7.2 /10
Metacritic   71 %
TheMovieDb    6.0 /10
FilmAffinity   6.9 /10
Director Jason Kohn
Release Date2009-04-19
Runtime1h 25mins
Content RatingUnrated (Unrated)
Awards7 wins & 6 nominations.
CompanyKilo Films, Whitest Pouring Films
CountryBrazil, USA
LanguageEnglish, Portuguese

Manda Bala (Send a Bullet)

Manda Bala (Send a Bullet) is a 2007 American documentary film directed by Jason Kohn about corruption and kidnapping in Brazil.

Kohn has said "I really thought of Manda Bala as a non-fiction RoboCop depicting a very real, broken, and violent society." It premiered January 20, 2007 at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival where it won the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary and the Excellence in Cinematography award. It had a limited release in North America beginning on August 17, 2007. On March 18, 2008, Manda Bala won the award for Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking at the inaugural Cinema Eye Honors.


Manda Bala sheds light on the corruption and class conflicts in Brazil through the experiences from different subjects, such as a businessman who bullet-proofs his cars; a plastic surgeon who reconstructs the ears of kidnap victims; former Governor and Senator Jáder Barbalho; a powerful Brazilian politician from the state of Pará who used a frog farm for money laundering, and the owner of the frog farm himself (see SUDAM).

This film details many of the reasons for Brazil's corruption including the fact that Brazil's politicians in office are exempt from civilian court proceedings, with the consequence that they will never be punished for crimes they commit in office. Another factor — and the other driving point of the film — is the ubiquity of kidnapping in Brazil, which ensures that the likelihood of redressing these crimes is fairly low and that someone's enemies (political or otherwise) are apt to disappear fairly easily.

Interview subjects


  • Grand Jury Prize: Documentary at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.
  • Excellence in Cinematography Award: Documentary for Heloisa Passos at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.
  • Winner of the Special Grand Jury Prize at the 2007 BRITDOC Film Festival
  • Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking at the Cinema Eye Honors
  • Outstanding Achievement in Editing at the Cinema Eye Honors
  • Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography at the Cinema Eye Honors
  • Special Jury Award at the 2007 Rome International Film Festival

Critical reception

As of May 12, 2008, the film had a score of 80% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 45 reviews. On Metacritic, the film had a score of 74 out of 100 based on 5 reviews. The movie was criticized by a Brazilian film critic, who thought that the violence was sensationalized. A scene where two kids where playing as kidnappers cutting off the ears of their abductees terrified the critic, making him asking the director about it. Kohn replied that he asked the children to do that, which prompted the critic Hudson Moura to think if the movie was just opportunist or it fails with "social ethics".