Two young boys growing up in the violent outskirts of Rio de Janeiro in the 1960s take different paths in life as they grow into men, as one becomes a photographer and the other dives into a dangerous criminal lifestyle.
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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
LA CITÉ DE DIEU (CIDADE DE DEUS) FERNANDO MEIRELLES, KÁTIA LUND Brésil, 2002
Premier film sorti en France de Fernando Meirelles, La Cité de Dieu vous plonge au cœur d’une favela de Rio où la jeunesse est la première cible des gangs. Un film poignant souvent comparé à du Scorsese de par la qualité de son montage qui ne vous épargnera rien.
The rise and fall of a lider. We could almost call him a benevolent despot. That's how he liked to see himself, after he came to power. At one point he says that crime has fallen (has stopped, according to him), since he rules, and he punishes severly small offenders. What hit me, in this film, is that he is, afterall, no different than any king, with his coup d'etats, high treason, bloody wars, rise to power...
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 reality it hopes to document 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.
I honestly think this is the film that fucked up my taste in films. (in a good way, I mean, to me anyways.) The film is well done and the filming is natural and the acting is well off fucking brilliant. I watched this in junior high and I keep on trying to find films like these. A classic for me.
A masterpiece or trite sensationalism of a culture over-intoxicated with flashy cinematic techniques rather than a heartfelt message? This problem undermines what I once thought was a great film and ended up dogging Meirelles’ later work. Even if I was to praise it for the technical mastery, the debt to Martin Scorsese is writ so large it consumes any sense of Meirelles making a film through his own vision.
It's such an interesting film. All the characters add up to create an amazing montage. The editing and camera worked of the first 5minutes turned me off, but after that, it kept getting better and better.
A film like this is treading on dangerous territory, but not lightly as it should be. A few scenes resonate, but for the most part, this is a hyperstylized, overblown, film-for-film's sake exploitation of a painful issue.