Juízo (Behave) follows the process of minors (less than 18) who have fallen foul of the legal system. Boys and girls from underprivileged backgrounds between the crime, ruling, and sentences doled out for theft, drug trafficking, and even murder. Due to legal constraints about revealing the true identity of the minors charged, the accused adolescents were substituted with young people chosen for having themselves lived in similar social conditions, although innocent of any actual crime.
All the other characters in Juízo – judges, attorneys, public defenders, probation officers, family members – are all the real people filmed during the hearings in the II Instance Court in Rio de Janeiro and visits to and inspections of the Padre Severino Institute, the correctional facility where the law-breaking minors are often sent.
Juízo walks the same dead-end corridors in the legal system and encounters the sheer volume of cases being dealt with by the system seen in Maria Augusta Ramos’ previous film, the prize-winning Justiça. The documentary shows the process of sentencing and how easily judges are swayed over questions involving minors breaking the law. Who really knows what to do? At the end of the documentary Juízo, the film sequences reveal the consequences of a formal society that recommends their children “behave”, but which is advice rarely put into practice. VPRO , selfmadefilms and mediafonds.