D.J. Haza presents the next entry in his series of films to watch before you die…
City of God (Portuguese: Cidade de Deus), 2002.
Directed by Fernando Meirelles.
Starring Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino da Hora, Alice Braga, Jonathan Haagensen, Douglas Silva and Seu Jorge.
City of God is a Brazilian film that is based upon Paulo Lins’ novel of the same name and depicts real life characters and stories of a Rio De Janeiro slum and it’s inhabitants. Following the main character Rocket (Rodrigues) from his childhood in the Rio favella Cidade de Deus (City of God), it depicts the growth of organised crime through the 60s, 70s and 80s. As well as following the story of quiet and honest photographer Rocket, the film also tells the stories of those he saw rise to the top of the criminal world and fall abruptly at some point.
Lil Ze (Firmino da Hore) is a sadistic drug dealer and murderous criminal who rises to become a big player in the criminal world and threatens to bring violence upon anyone standing in his way. Lil Ze controls many of the smaller dealers and runs his criminal empire like it’s a game. As Lil Ze rises to the top he becomes embroiled in even more violence and his actions eventually catch up with him.
City of God is blood filled and dark story of life in one of the most violent dangerous cities on the planet, but also depicts the two paths offered to every young man in that world – an honest life or a life of crime. The themes of morality and honesty run throughout the film and Rocket’s choices are juxtaposed by those around him, especially be Lil Ze.
City of God is a film you must see before you die as it depicts in so much detail a world that many of us could only imagine. City of God will drag you off your settee and throw you into the violent and blood stained streets of Rio, leaving you shaken by the experience.