City of God (2002)

Cidade de Deus is a Brazilian made true story directed by Fernando Meirelles. Set in the City of God, a favela in Rio de Janeiro, two boys grow up choosing different paths in life, Rocket aims to become a photographer, whilst Li’l Zé becomes a drug dealer and gamg leader. Over the course of the film the extreme poverty and desperation of living in the favela drives both characters to do things that lead down a sinful road, as their worlds burn and suffer around them.

The entire film is a masterful and exceptional piece of cinema. Not only does director Fernando Meirelles bring to life the characters, but also the favela itself. Making the setting of the film feel so alive and realistic adds to the realism and immersive feeling of the film, as well as this, Meirelles’ decision to cast non-professional actors for the main parts of the film, making sure they were familiar or from the same favela, also adds to the reality of this true story.

The story is incredibly well scripted, using a non-linear episodical narrative, the film jumps through three decades of time, showing the main characters lives in each. Starting with them as kids playing on the streets of the newly built housing estate, the film tells the story of their brothers, the hoodlums of the City of God and how their crime lives both influenced and discouraged Zé and Rocket. A well written script with a twisting plot and great dialogue only add to the excitement, intensity and enjoyment I got from watching this film.

An incredible script and cinematography is topped off with a brilliant, fast paced and well placed samba and rock score. Coupling fast paced music with intense scenes adds to the dynamics of a scene, whilst the samba more builds the setting and immersion of the favela.

Overall this Brazillian film really hits home when your watching it, dealing with the real problems of favelas in Brazil, the poverty, the crime and corruption of government, whisky building an incredibly fast-paced, exhilarating and thoroughly enjoyable movie. image




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