Sunday, December 14, 2008

City of God (2002) R - 4 Stars

Pretty disturbing look at the poorer part of town in Brazil. I've seen Children of Men based on the same scenario but with an older crowd. I liked this movie better as I felt a truer absorption of the young boys. Based on a true story, it's sad that these boys in their poverty level and lack of education, turn to drug running and controlling the streets with no regard for life. The acting is so good, I almost thought I was watching a real life documentary rather than actors.

In Portuguese with subtitles, City of God (Cidade de Deus) is a housing project built in the 1960's in the poorest part of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The children of the town, quickly learn it's survival of the fittest when gunfire constantly fills the sky and causes them to take cover at any given corner. In the 1980's the city erupted into one of the most violent places in Rio de Janiero. The children, some supporting their families at the age of 10, were running rampant in the streets only knowing how to steal, rob and fire a gun. The movie is filmed mostly through the eyes of Buscapé (Alexandre Rodrigues), aka Rocket, who basically a good kid, mixed up in a world of outlaws and bandits. He's in search of finding something better to leave the City of God.

The streets are run by the gang with the most power, drugs and money. As the older boys are killing each other off, the younger boys are growing to follow in their footsteps. Rocket gets an unusual chance at a camera and photographs one of the notorious gang, lead by Zé Pequeno (Lil' Zé) (Leandro Firmino da Hora). Lil Ze' wants his claim to fame spread over the front pages. Rocket again is in the right place at the wrong time and takes photographs of the gangs, at war, bringing attention to their story.

Awards include:

2002 - City of God - AFI Fest - Audience Award
2003 - City of God - Chicago Film Critics Association - Best Foreign Film
2003 - City of God - Los Angeles Film Critics Association - Best Foreign Language Film

Miramax Films
Directors: Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund
Writer: Braulio Mantovani
Producers: Andrea Barata Ribeiro, Mauricio Andrade Ramos
I viewed 11/08

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