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City of God [DVD]
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Using street kids straight from the Cidade de Deus slum outside Rio de Janeiro, Fernando Meirelles' film is based on actual events that happened in the slum. The story, revealed by Buscape - a street kid who decides to become a photojournalist when he discovers he is not cut out to become a villain - revolves around the shadowy world of drugs and the violence which increases with each generation. Li'l Ze has grown up to become a natural-born-killer and attempt to take over the drugs trade of the city. However, this sparks a turf war which is photographed by Buscape, making the war famous.
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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Unexpected and revealing.
Rocket's escape from the violence is more a matter of luck than anything else, and he isn't presented as heroic. In fact, the sub-plot concerning his anxiety about losing his virginity makes him seem a bit lame, if anything. The violent characters are vivid figures rather than interesting characters, but they're still capable of engaging us. The morphing of L'il Dice into L'il Ze is chilling -- clearly a sociopath from the cradle -- and the hardening of the charming Knockout Ned into Ze's would-be nemesis is as close as the movie comes to tragic feeling. But minor characters are vivid and distinct too, especially Benny, Carrot, Goose, and the hopeless addict Tiago.Read more ›
It follows (primarily) the life of 2 boys Rocket and Li'l Dice (later to rename himself L'il Ze) from the late 60's to the early eighties (a period of about 14 years).
In the slums the only way to survive is to take menial low paid work, or become a hoodlum.
Both Rocket and Dice's older brothers are part of the terrible trio - notorious local hoodlums and robbers. Dice and Rocket are not friends though, merely acquainteneces in the same area
Rocket stays in school to study while L'il Dice joins his brother as a hood. We follow both as Rocket struggles
with relationships while Li'l Dice turns himself and his friend Bene (the coolest hood in the slums) into the most feared hoods.
L'il Ze (as he's now calling himself) decides to take over the local drug trade by killing off the dealers
and taking their territories. So he does and stops the robberies plaguing his area in the process, to further enhance his grip as "the boss"
Meanwhile Rocket dreams of being a photographer having the only camera amoung his group of friends. he starts work at a local
newspaper as an errand boy and works himself up. Chance brings them into contact later when Ze, desperate for
publicity to publicise his name in a war with another dealer gets Rocket to take his picture this catapults Ze to the limelight he desires and unwittingly gets Rocket his first real start as a photographer.
Naturally violence is never far away and the film is as much about how the very poor survive and the police corruption rife in Brazil and how this touches the lives of all good and bad.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Possibly one of the best films I have ever seen. Gritty, realistic and exciting. A film that can be watched countless times, there is so much going on in it.Published 2 months ago by HS
Tremendous film. Some reviews and descriptions make it sound depressingly violent and doom-laden, but there's actually a quirky lightness throughout that drags it out of the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by brainBoru57
Brilliant film suggested at a recent screen writing course as a fine example of modern story telling. Came quickly, was well packed.Published 6 months ago by sue law
Wow! Where to start without being a spoiler?
The storyline - a true story ... That makes it scary /upsetting /moving, it made me very emotional
The filming - excellent,... Read more
Has such good reviews and I've now had the pleasure of finding out why reminded me of slumdog millionaire but grittier with gangs a must watch for anyone.Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer