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Cinema Marrocos

The population of Brazil, as recorded by the 2008 PNAD, is approximately 190 million and 83.75% of the population is defined as urban.
Brazil’s housing deficit is around 7 million units, referring to the number of shelters which do not have adequate conditions to be habitable, in addition to the number of housing units that need to be built to shelter all families who currently lack one. As a result, they share a shelter with another household in overcrowded conditions.
São Paulo is the biggest city of Brazil and South America with almost 20 million people living in the city.
Housing, in Brazil largest city São Paulo, is one of the biggest issues poor people have been facing in the last years.
Since 2008, real estate prices in São Paulo have shot up by nearly 200%.
Over the last five years, rising real estate speculation in central São Paulo has created a deficit of affordable housing. In response, left wing housing movements seize abandoned buildings, transforming them into housing units for poor and vulnerable families.
In some cases these buildings can host up to one thousand people. The size of the apartment is generally around 40sq meters, and the bathroom is normally shared within few families.

Cinema Marrocos stands in the paulista capital downtown.
When inaugurated, in 1951, it has been called "The best and most luxury cinema of South America".

In 2013 after many years in which the cinema remained closed, a social movement occupied the cinema and the 12 floor building above. Since October 2013 around 370 families live there, for a total amount of more than 1000 people.
This is their story.

©Alessandro Rampazzo/Echo Photo Agency

  

The cinema Marrocos occupation is one of the ninety buildings occupied only in Sao Paulo. house related problems are a big issue for lower class people since in the last few years the rent prices have increased significantly.
Many movements have born to answer to this problem, MTST, MSTS, FLM, among the others, occupies abandoned buildings, allowing families and people to go and live there. Is estimate that around 80.000 people, only in Sao Paulo, live in occupied buildings.

  

The entrance of the occupation Marrocos is surveilled all day long by different people from the building. As they are massively populated, it is difficult to know everyone and for this reason people feel the need to checking the ID at the entrance. By doing like this, the occupied building can be a safe place and strangers are kept outside.

  

The entrance hall of the cinema Marrocos occupation is always controlled by internal security. This is important to check that people entering are occupants of the building and not foreigners. To enter every person has a personal card attesting he's living in the building.

  

The occupation has its own responsible who cares about the needs of the people and the maintenance of the building. Every month every family pay 200R$ for all the living necessities like water, electricity, and general maintenance. The responsible is also in charge to care about people's security. For instance once,a man was expelled from the building for having beaten his wife.

  

As the occupation is inside a 12 floor building, the elevator is the best way to reach the highest floors. Only two of the four elevators are working and they are used also to bring the most different things to the apartments.

  

In the Cinema Marrocos occupation live more than 350 families for a total of more than 1000 people. The occupation is mainly a protest to the life condition of a big part of the population. It is a popular answer to a state program called "minha casa minha vida", one of the principal points of the Lula program, that still doesn't have take place.

  

Jayde, 47 has been living in the Cinema Marrocos occupation since 5 months. Jayde is her name but she does't like it so for everybody she's Katia.

  

Jayde's kitchen (Katia). Apartments are normally around 35sq meters, and the bathroom is shared with other few occupants.

  

As Jayde (Katia) cleans her apartment her nephew Ana Julia helps her.

  

Jayde (Katia) 47 lives in a double room apartment with her daughter and her four nephews, one of them with mental illness.

  

Inside Jayde (Katia) apartment with her daughter and her four nephews, one of them with mental illness. A portrait of Jayde's daughter with two of her four sons.

  

Wagner is 47 year old Brasilian he lives with Vanessa and his daughter Aiane. As Aiane is just few months old they decided to live in a motel but the money gained from Wagner's work was just sufficient to pay the everyday rent. Wagner works daily, with no contract or any signed paper. He works in the city fruit and vegetable general market. It was a friend who told him about the movement occupying buildings to give people the possibility to live in a house at a reasonable price

  

Wagner is 47 year old Brasilian he lives with Vanessa and his daughter Aiane. Now he pays 200R$ less than 100€ and have not to worry for the condition of life of his family. He told me "really I'm here for her - pointing to his daughter - as i can manage to live on the street, but how can she?" When saying this he broke up in tears.

  

The Cinema Marrocos occupation at its first floor has a big space where children can play together. One big problem for poor people is to take care of the children. As salary are really low, both of the parents need to work and the children are left on the street with all the risks that this takes. In this kind of occupations children become part of a big community where they can play in a safe area with always someone around.

  

The Cinema Marrocos occupation at its first floor has a big space where children can play together. One big problem for poor people is to take care of the children. As salary are really low, both of the parents need to work and the children are left on the street with all the risks that this takes. In this kind of occupations children become part of a big community where they can play in a safe area with always someone around. As the place is common children normally do contribute to keep it clean.

  

The cinema Marrocos occupation has a bar inside where people of the occupation go in the evening and where children and teenagers play.

  

As the building entrance is checked, children have a safe place where to stay also in their parent's absence.

  

In the bar of the cinema Marrocos teenagers and youngster are used to meet to play billiards and stay together in the early evening.

  

Yafau, 23 arrived in Brazil few months ago with her husband Mustapha 34, an ex military in Gambia.

  

Mustapha is from Gambia. For 11 years worked as a soldier for the national army and also with the UN. As he was part of the army and involved in risky operation his life started to be no more safe.That's why he decided to move to Brazil together with his girl, who is now pregnant. At the moment he's waiting for a refugee status approval. Yafau, Mustapha wife, is now pregnant of their first son.

  

Lucas, moved to Sao Paulo from Belo Horizonte to study to become a hair stylist. He lives with his cousin in the occupation Marocco since two months. He become good friend of Sandra, that often come to visit him and to get a haircut.

  

Lucas's hairdresser tools. He studies to become a hair stylist and in the meantime works in a local shop.

  

Helder is living in the cinema Marrocos occupation since 7 months. His apartment, on the 7th floor, has always the door open.

  

Helder, 36, he studies as a cook and worked many years both employed and freelance. Since few years he dedicate his time to gay people in needs. He goes on the the street and meet with them, giving them advice on how to get access to public health assistance. In some cases he deals whit addicted people helping them too.
The gay and lesbian people suffer, most of the time, a big discrimination from their families and for this reason Helder feels to help them.

  

Every sunday at 9pm there is a collective cleaning of the building. Every person contribute washing the common places like corridors ad stairs. who do not participate is fined of 30R$ almost 10€. One of the responsible of the building passing on the floors to call people to start cleaning.

  

During the weekly collective cleaning of the occupation, people work together to clean the common spaces of the cinema Marocco building. From the stairs comes the water of the upper floors, the lower you are the more you'll get.

  

Once a month, the ex cinema hall is used to take a collective meeting where people can discuss problems, point out needs and in general discuss about the occupation.

  

Open spaces are commonly used to dry the laundry

  

The cinema Marrocos hosts around one thousand people. Nonetheless is not easy to see many people around. Everyone has its business. People come back from work usually around 7PM people and that's when it is more easy to meet people around the building.

  

The cinema Marrocos hosts around one thousand people. Nonetheless is not easy to see many people around. Everyone has its business. People come back from work usually around 7PM people and that's when it is more easy to meet people around the building.

  

Dalva, one of the coordinators of the occupation, is living in the cinema Marrocos since few months. She is contributing to the life of the occupation also working as ascensorista (elevator attendant).

  

The cinema Marrocos occupation is a building of 12 floors. The occupation is like a small city where each floor is a neighborhood. In the building live people coming from Brazil as well as other countries like, Bolivia, Perù, Chile, Gambia, Ghana. Normally people from the same world region live in the same floor, this is not mandatory but contributes to keep a better feeling between people in the occupation

  

Vanusa moved to the cinema Marrocos occupation just two months ago. She and her housband had a problem at home and they had to leave. In the meantime Vanusa decided to give up her old work because of the working condition. Now the couple settled up a new business. They work on the street as sandwich sellers. It is very hard as they are always buying food, preparing sandwiches going to sell them and back again. This happens twice a day according to the working time of the population.

  

Richard and Carmen live with a friend and their daughter in the cinema Marrocos occupation. They come from perù, in two different moments, they met in the city and decided to live together. Carmen has other 3 sons from a previous marriage, all leaving in Lima, Perù at the moment.
Richard is a musician and play with other Peruvians in festivals and parties, Carmen is used to work as babysitter.

  

Lucia, 64 lives in the occupation Marrocos since 5 months. She moved there because the place is near the center and is very cheap.
She is used to work as a secretary in a local business.
Few years ago one of her two sons died of an heart attack, the other son now lives with his wife also in the center.

  

Children living in the cinema Marrocos occupation usually are free to move in the building as the place is really secure and controlled. There is a kind of social control that allow parents to go to work without being worried about their children.

  

Wagner is 47 year old Brasilian he lives with Vanessa and his daughter Aiane. After a period in which they lived in Vanessa family house they had been kicked out because of problems with the family.

  

The cinema Marrocos occupation is run by the MSTS movement, one of the many movements fighting for the right of housing.