Home MOTW Movie of the week: City of God(2002)

Movie of the week: City of God(2002)

by cinical

“City of God” is a 2002 Brazilian crime film that tells the story of crime and life in the Cidade de Deus, a favela (a type of shantytown) in Rio de Janeiro. As someone who is fascinated by crime dramas and films that showcase different cultures, I was excited to watch this movie and it did not disappoint.

Plot Summary

“City of God” is a 2002 Brazilian crime film directed by Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund, that tells the story of crime and life in the Cidade de Deus, a favela (a type of shantytown) in Rio de Janeiro. The film spans several decades, from the 1960s to the 1980s, and follows the lives of several characters, with the main focus on Rocket, a young man who wants to be a photographer.

The film begins in the 1960s, with Rocket, an aspiring photographer, who witnesses the rise of organized crime in the favela. He sees the violence and poverty that plagues the community and the way it affects the people living there. He wants to document the situation through his camera lens, but he also wants to stay away from the criminal world.

As the years go by, Rocket gets to know the key players in the favela’s criminal underworld, including Li’l Ze, a ruthless drug lord who rises to power and starts to control the favela. Li’l Ze and his gang become involved in a turf war with another drug lord, Carrot, and the violence escalates. Rocket gets caught in the middle of the violence and tries to stay away from it.

In the meantime, Rocket’s friend, Benny, becomes a small-time crook and later a drug dealer. He is the only one of Rocket’s friends who has a chance to leave the favela behind, but he gets caught up in the cycle of violence and ends up getting killed.

The climax of the film takes place in the 1980s, when Rocket’s younger brother, Goose, becomes a member of Li’l Ze’s gang. Rocket tries to intervene and stop Goose from getting involved in the criminal world, but he fails. The film ends with a final showdown between Li’l Ze and Carrot, and the favela is left in ruins.

Authentic and Powerful Acting

One of the things that struck me most about “City of God” was the powerful performances of the actors. Many of the actors in the film were from the favelas themselves and brought an authenticity to their performances that was hard to ignore. The lead actor, Alexandre Rodrigues, does an excellent job of conveying Rocket’s innocence and determination. The supporting cast is also strong, particularly Leandro Firmino, who plays the villainous Li’l Ze.

Realistic and Gritty Portrayal of Favela Life

Another aspect of the film that stood out to me was the realistic and gritty portrayal of life in the favelas. The movie does not shy away from showing the poverty, crime, and violence that are all too common in these communities. At the same time, it also shows the strong sense of community and resilience of the people who live there. The film also manages to convey the complexity of the situation in the favela and doesn’t present a one-dimensional portrayal of the community or the individuals living there.

In conclusion, “City of God” is a powerful and thought-provoking film that offers a glimpse into the world of crime and life in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. The performances are outstanding, particularly from the actors who hail from the favelas themselves, and the film’s portrayal of life in the favela is both realistic and gritty. If you’re a fan of crime dramas or are interested in learning more about different cultures, I highly recommend checking out “City of God.”

The violence in Cidade de Deus

“City of God” is a film that does not shy away from showing the violence that plagues the favela of Cidade de Deus. Throughout the film, the audience is exposed to a wide range of violent acts, from shootouts and murders to brutal beatings and stabbings. The film uses violence to convey the brutal reality of life in the favela and to drive the plot forward.

One of the most striking scenes in the film is the Chicken Market massacre. The scene shows a group of drug dealers open fire on a crowded market, killing innocent bystanders in the process. The scene is shot in a chaotic and frenetic manner, and the audience can feel the tension and fear of the characters. The violence in this scene is shown in a very realistic way, and it’s clear that the filmmakers did not hold back in their portrayal of the brutality of the situation.

Another scene that stands out is the face-off between Li’l Ze and Carrot, two rival drug lords. The scene is a brutal and intense showdown, with both characters using all means necessary to eliminate the other. The violence in this scene is portrayed in a very graphic way, with both characters using knives and guns to inflict injuries on each other. This scene highlights the senselessness of the violence in the favela and how it spirals out of control.

In addition to these violent set-pieces, the film also includes smaller but equally impactful scenes of violence. For example, there is a scene where a young boy is beaten and stabbed by a group of thugs for no reason. This scene is particularly powerful because it shows how the violence in the favela can affect even the most innocent and vulnerable members of the community.

Throughout the film, the violence is not glorified but rather portrayed as senseless and destructive, and the audience can see how it affects the community and individuals in different ways. The film manages to convey the gravity and impact of violence in a way that is both realistic and thought-provoking.

This movie uses violence as a tool to convey the brutal reality of life in the favela and to drive the plot forward. The film does not shy away from showing the violence in a realistic and graphic way, and it’s clear that the filmmakers wanted to convey the gravity and impact of violence on the community and individuals. The film manages to make the audience reflect on the senselessness and destructive nature of violence.

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