In the poverty-stricken favelas of Rio de Janeiro in the 1970s, two young men choose different paths. Rocket is a budding photographer who documents the increasing drug-related violence of his neighborhood, while José “Zé” Pequeno is an ambitious drug dealer diving into a dangerous life of crime.
An essential arthouse staple of the naughts, Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund’s epic of favela life crackles with passion, violence, color, and visual wizardry. Brazil’s submission to the Oscars uses primarily nonprofessional actors, who light up scenes of relentless violence and restless flight.
CITY OF GOD is an epic story about crime world in Brazil. This movie is very interesting to follow. I never get bored with it. The storytelling of CITY OF GOD is easy to follow. If you like a movie like GOODFELLAS or THE GODFATHER maybe you would like this movie too. Director Fernando Meirelles & Kátia Lund succeed to mix some themes like friendship, from zero to hero, rise and fall. It also has moral value in it...
Undoubtedly Fernando Meirelles' masterpiece, "City of God", brilliantly shot and exquisitely color graded, transports you into the grim, stark reality of brazilian "favelas", with never a dull moment in sight. The editing is fantastic all the way through, but in the third act it achieves the level of true cinematic accomplishment. A must-see.
Love to revisit this film. City of God is one of the first films that introduced my young mind to current world cinema. Great ensemble, unforgettable visuals, and a story with history, energy, culture, and tons of personal touches to satisfy everyone. It is to Brazil the same way The Godfather is to USA. A near-perfect crime and human film that is both fictionally visualized and horrifyingly real.
Such an exhilarating torrent - of relentless fast cut edits; restless, angular camerawork; raw, chaotic mise-en-scene - riffing gloriously on every perversely glamourized gangster trope, that it only fully hits you once the credits roll how disturbing it is how helpless you, like them, were to the onslaught. Powerful poetry. As valid a statement as something less polished. 4.5
This is a dark close-up in the streets of Brazil where war and theft are the everyday life. It's very enjoyable to watch but also very tough to idealize for it still exists nowadays yet that's how governments sees them: as the excrement of capitalism. The movie brightness is bonding the rich details about their characters and their very poor different stories of their life to us. The chicken part too!
Many reviews & previews I have seen talk about the photographer's story, but that isn't what it is about. City of God is about kids, growing up & becoming adults, sometimes too early. It doesn't glamourise their lifestyle, nor cast judgement on it, City of God just tells a story. The shots are gorgeous, the cinematography is stunning and the compositing just is out of control.
Coming of age story built around the City of God as a collective character. With it's circular narrative, intense editing and real life people from the favelas as actors, it's raw, tense, depressing and very real.
A Mean Streets for the 21st century, so its perhaps unsurprising that some have seen the "Scorsese problem" in it: that is, it's so in love with film style that it divorces itself from the very real violence it documents and becomes pure movie myth. But that's simplifying it more than a little, and as far as pure movie myths go, the last decade hasn't done much better.