Janus of Life

Higher life in hand

City of God(Cidade de Deus)

Posted by Janus on September 7, 2006

city of god

  • Information:
  • Title: (Cidade De Deus, ‘City of God’)
  • Certificate: (18)
  • Released by: (Miramax)
  • Run time: (124 minutes)
  • Origin: (Brazil)
  • Language: (Portuguese)
  • Vintage: (2002)

Welcome to the world’s most notorious slum: Rio de Janeiro’s ‘City of God’. A place where combat photographers fear to tread, where police rarely go, and residents are lucky if they live to the age of twenty. This is the story of a young man who grew up on these streets and whose ambition as a photographer is our window in and ultimately may be his only way out. (Plot courtesy of Miramax’s DVD release plus some minor changes)

City of God was Directed by Fernando Meirelles (Domésticas) with co-direction from Kátia Lund (Minha Alma), It’s screenplay was written by Bráulio Mantovani (Nanoilusão) and based on a book by former city of god resident and writer Paulo Lins (City of God, ‘novel’). It stars Alexandre Rodrigues (Cafundó) as Rocket and Leandro Firmino (Corneteiro Lopes, O) as Li’l Zé with Matheus Nachtergaele (Amerelo manga) as the drug dealer Sandro Cenoura ‘Carrot’.

City of God has been Nominated for an Amazing seventy-three awards since its Brazilian release in 2002 including four Oscars, It has won Forty-eight of those awards including the 2003 BAFTA for best editing and six awards at the Cinema Brazil Grand Prize. Unfortunately, another foreign film is ignored at the Oscars with none of its four nominations coming good. Most of the characters are played by untrained actors from the slums of Rio de Janeiro with the exception of Carrot who is played by the only professional actor Matheus Nachtergaele.

The one thing that struck me when I had finished watching the film is how it had sucked me in and kept me occupied for the odd two hours of it’s duration, I had never expected a Gangland style film to keep my attention for so long but unlike American style gangland films, city of god has the substance I seek for in my entertainment. It is a film that shows the crazy social deprivation that people have to endure in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, which is a city thought of as beautiful. The violent measures these people are driven to shows the true nature of humanity, we humans will seek to survive at all costs and when violence is the only way to survive humans will inevitable go to it.

As well as substance city of god also has great visual flare, a film that is not only written with the right stuff but also directed and acted with the right stuff. Alexandre’s performance as rocket is a credit to his skill and a delight to watch unlike the undignified acting of Hollywood stars and shows that you can get an amazing film by using actors that don’t demand to be paid millions a go.

I have already myself decided to buy the novel upon which this film is based on the grounds that if this is an amazing film which it is then the novel should be better. With Gritty Brazilian style City of God receives a rating of (9/10).

Also to be found at www.emagi.co.uk

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