City of God (2003)

City of God
City of God is based on a true story that takes place in the 60’s where in the slums of Rio De Janeiro two boys growing up in the neighborhood take on different paths in life. The story is told through eyes of Buscape, a poor young fisherman’s son who dreams of becoming a photographer one day. His story narrates the violence and corruption surrounding the city and the rise and fall of one of the city’s most notorious boss, Li’l Ze. As war wages on the streets Buscape’s only way out of this violent life is to expose its brutality the world through his pictures. Along the way the lives of other are put into perspective as their stories intersect with the events that take place. (imdb)

It was one of the movies you wished you could stop seeing it since it potray many of unpleasant things the whole movie, but you felt relieved in the end. It’s all about killing and getting killed, greed and drugs, revenge, and men acting like they are Gods. Kids actually playing with guns. Obviously this is not for kids or teenager to watch.

City of God

The fact that the title City of God has barely have anything to do with spirituality or a connection with God, it was actually satirize how men playing Gods. We are invited to see the growth of organized crime in the Cidade de Deus suburb of Rio de Janeiro, between the end of the ’60s and the beginning of the ’80s, with the closure of the film depicting the war between the drug dealer Li’l Zé and criminal Knockout Ned. (wikipedia)

Seeing Li’l Ze, probably the most antagonist character I’ve ever seen, just makes me wonder how in one body contains so many evil characteristic. He could make innocent people surround him infected his extreme mind. I wonder if maybe his behavior is formed by bad influence of his siblings or is it just his natural talent. In order to survive, it seems killing people is a must in this movie. And the habit continues makes a vicious cycle that poisonous to mind and action. Benny, Li’l Ze’s bestfriend since child was actually the not insane part of Li’l Ze.

city of god 6

After two hours seeing the dangerous lives in Cidade de Deus, Rio De Janeiro, it was all worth the watch, and it has the effect that I have been looking for in a movie. I realize why it had a huge amount of effect to the viewers; The thought that it is based on real events made quite of horror, knowing that there are part of the world who actually done lots of shocking things. The movie also felt very real and was shot to make it felt real on camera. Most cast were actually from the favelas, the residents from the City of God itself and Vidigal. In fact the only professional actor in the movie was Matheus Nachtergaele (Carrot).

Based on the novel with the same name, City of God receive four Oscar nominations ; Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Film Editing and Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay. The cinematography itself felt very much suitable for the dangerous suburb, a bit raw, parts of it uses poor lighting  but none of it was an issue since it actually needed for the situation (dark streets or vulgar shots). I love how the editing feels so dynamic, when they are in the running scenes. There also a scene where an apartment Carrot eventually took tells the previous owners. The colors and editing, also the story reminded me of Slumdog Millionaire.

City of God

Thankfully, not all of the minutes were about the dangerous living in City of God. Rocket as one of the leading character remains neutral til the very end. Rocket’s simple mind and living was the only thing that is normal in the movie. His fondness of photography is also one of the most pleasant thing in the movie, end up saving his life somehow. His teen life in the beach with his crush and camera was one of the sweetest scenes.

After watching an amount of movies, some are the best and some just plain lecturing you, this movie teaches its moral of the story through a series of violence and revenge. I took its way to tell that karma always exist, the world goes round and you will get what you give. Seeing Li’l Ze spreading his vicious mindset to kids, no wonder the kids will copy his mindset and do the same. Do pick City of God to view a shocking true events in the ’60s and maybe feel grateful for living in a peaceful neighborhood.


Movie Score :