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City of God  [US Import] [Blu-ray] [Region A]
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Follows three boys from one of the most brutal, violent, and corrupt slums in Rio de Janeiro from the 1970s to the 1990s, a period when the only spark of hope comes from the story of a boy who wants to be a photographer.
Like cinematic dynamite, City of God lights a fuse under its squalid Brazilian ghetto, and we're a captive audience to its violent explosion. The titular favela is home to a seething army of impoverished children who grow, over the film's ambitious 20-year time frame, into cut-throat killers, drug lords and feral survivors. In the vortex of this maelstrom is L'il Z (Leandro Firmino da Hora--like most of the cast, a non-professional actor), self-appointed king of the dealers, determined to eliminate all competition at the expense of his corrupted soul. With enough visual vitality and provocative substance to spark heated debate (and box-office gold) in Brazil, codirectors Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund tackle their subject head on, creating a portrait of youthful anarchy so appalling--and so authentically immediate--that City of God prompted reforms in socioeconomic policy. It's a bracing feat of stylistic audacity, borrowing from a dozen other films to form its own unique identity. You'll flinch, but you can't look away. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an alternate Blu-ray edition.
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When Slumdog Millionaire was released a few years ago it was critically praised for its sharp depiction of the African slums and the difficulty of Dev Patel's character's life and encoding that with a popular TV programme and heart warming love story, and so if you were a fan, prepare to have your mind warped by one of the darkest and violent slum films arguably ever created.
Released 8 years ago now the story plays a reflection on Paulo Lins' novel which is based on a true story of the real gangs in Brazil during the 1960's and 70's. Which I hadn't realised till afterwards which honestly, makes the entirety of this production seems unbelievable. As much as Danny Boyle demonstrated a wisdom in India, Fernando Meirelles has shaken up something gob smacking original and authentic that will entertain, shock, make you laugh and cry and to tell a story of such violence and drama, of such childhood troubles and such forces corruption, blows the mind.
The story opens in the present with a well executed quick cutting chicken chase that has the central character in the middle of the street and the Brazilian gang on one side and the police on the other, a cinematic piece of art that sets the tone for the style of the director and the execution for the start of a brutal yet enjoyable narrative.
The plot shifts back in time and walks us through the formation of the notorious gang leaders of the slums and how childhood ignorance and neglect can form one of the greatest criminals ever. The hotel violence sequence is an effective handheld camera montage of brutality and force that shakes up what should be a normal environment but works on so many levels of shock. From seeing teenagers with guns to the violent rampage of attacks this is a unthinkable collection of representations.
There of course is unsettling teens all over the world, particularly aggressive in the UK and America thanks to media influence but within this setting of the Brazilian rural areas, shows us how peer pressure of a creative and influential power can ultimately upset a childhood's youthful ignorance and freedom.
As the film shifts through different character stories, the pace maintains its steady pace of drug and weapons dealings and the power of authority and how violence upsets the established order. The dialogue is assertive and precise from all characters and though the novel should not be touched in my opinion, you would like to think it is a great adaptation, gaining an Oscar nomination.
The cinematography is one of the big winners here with glorious lighting and hand shaking shots and using multiple twists in a story of childhood subjection to the surroundings is a winner and as before, like Slumdog? You will be aghast at this piece of perfection cinematic construction.
The storyline - a true story ... That makes it scary /upsetting /moving, it made me very emotional
The filming - excellent, im no photographer or anything but the location and scenes were truely breath taking
How did i feel at the end - quiet and thankful i live in france and thank ful for all i have around me
Summary - buy it for a life lesson, dont buy it for light entertainment
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I watched the main film first and I was entertained by the story and shocked by the gratuitous violence.
Then I watched the documentary and realised the film was a pretty close example of real life in this cities slums.
All in all a movie to make sure I appreciate living in the UK.
Well worth a watch. Not sure you should wander too far afield if you are going to the 2016 Olympics.
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