Brazil - The Paralyzed Republic
"Lava Jato" ("Car Wash") is the name of a Federal police operation to combat the corruption that has become endemic in Brazil. The president is under investigation along with government ministers and hundreds of politicians and company managers.
Many are already in custody, and nearly every day sees new arrests, new confessions, and new details which reveal the full extent of an unprecedented corruption scandal. Brazil is in the grip of a bitter power struggle between public prosecutors and corrupt politicians. The Brazilian people hardly recognize their country: 94 per cent of the population have lost confidence in the state and its representatives. The starting point for this documentary is a filling station in the capital, Brasilia, which was turned into a money laundering facility. Its owners report on how it was here that the "Lava Jato" ("Car Wash") commission began its breath-taking investigations. The film team visits the brave public prosecutors who are laying bare a culture of systematic bribery in Brazil's political and economic life. Even they are repeatedly stunned at the extent of the bribery scandal. Incorruptible judges are passing heavy sentences - even on the rich and powerful, something that used to be unthinkable in Brazil and has made the judges heroes. The film takes the pulse of a torn people that is fascinated by the fearlessness of the investigators and thoroughly appalled at the behaviour of its political representatives.
The film team also visits Brasilia, the centre of power where a handful of delegates are conducting their lonely fight against corruption. Will "Lava Jato" finally lead to a cleaned-up Brazil? That is by no means certain, because most politicians in Brasilia are struggling for personal survival and using all the means at their disposal to halt the investigations. Democracy's reputation is tarnished. This documentary shows that the populists of all people could ultimately benefit most, with evangelists and right-wing nationalists successfully presenting themselves as alternatives.