Cidade de Deus, or, City of God is a Brazilian film, directed by Fernando Meirelles, released in the year 2002, tells the story of life in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, in an area known as the Cidade De Deus, the City of God. Fortunately or unfortunately, you are left in a world you don’t want to visit, it won’t be featured on a post card, and it’s said to be the city ignored by god himself. This movie makes you feel uncomfortable, puts you on the edge of your seat- you are right into the middle of the City and you too are caught up in it’s violent temptation. More importantly, it’s about the triumph of the human spirit against all odds.
“What are you doing, you’re just a kid?” “I steal, I kill, I carry a gun, how can I be just a kid? I am a man.”
The one thing that stands out so well in City of God is the photography, narration and above all razor sharp MTV style editing that flaws most films with their own styles. Fernando Meirelles really does ram this film home and paints a really bleak image of Brazil the world is none to familiar with. Among many things that amazed me-
- The cinematography is some of the best I have ever seen- with a very visceral, jerky feel, very reminiscent of Saving Private Ryan.
- The editing is a kinetic amalgamation of the old styles, and bringing them up to date with the most flashy and modern hip hop styles.
- I’ve never seen such amazing character building in such a short time. Especially that of Knockout Ned, it took a mere 10 mins to bring this character from the nowhere to the lead.
- The very first scene of the film, especially tracking the hen from top followed by the most daring jump cut sequence ever!
- The football, the music, the heady culture of samba and carnival joie de vivre that never looses its charm. Its Brazil’s answer to The Godfather.
- Screenplay has never been this good. The way it involves the viewer is an amazing craftswork. You tend to forget that you’re watching a Brazilian film. Subtitles fade away as you gasp and close your eyes to this fast paced roller coaster ride!
Well, if you ask me, a gangster film never looked this good. It is as if the camera is released in the wide open beaches, and kicked around like one of Ronaldinho’s headers. It starts on the sand and moves steadily across. It picks up on the story but then heads into the sun. It then leaves us, in a journey you’ll never forget.
Do I need to mention? 10/10