Film about de Menezes premieres in home town

Jan Onoszko
Friday 19 June 2009 00:00
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The life story of the Brazilian man shot dead by police on a London Underground train because they believed he was a suicide bomber is celebrated in a film which premieres in his home town this evening.

The population of Gonzaga is expected to double in size as 10,000 people pack the town's football ground for the first screening of the film, entitled Jean Charles.

Jean Charles de Menezes was 27 years old when Metropolitan Police officers fired seven bullets into his head at Stockwell Tube station on 22 July 2005. The force was found guilty of endangering public safety in a subsequent inquiry into the incident but no individual officers have been held accountable for his death.

The Gonzaga mayor, Esegenia-Maria Magalhaes, said: "We wish the town could have become known for other reasons, if it had to be known at all. What happened still has a profound effect on all of us. There's a lot of indignation, pain, sadness, and Jean Charles is greatly missed. He was an ordinary boy who left us in search of a better life."

The BBC commissioned the film and approached Henrique Goldman to direct and write it, but it later pulled out of the project because they didn't agree on what perspective the film should take. "I don't know why they pulled the plug," said Goldman. He managed to keep the project going when the UK Film Council provided half the funding. "The Government which lets the police get away with murder also allows us to make the film," said Goldman. "This schizophrenic behaviour is very British."

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