City of God

In: Film and Music

Submitted By Bolt9
Words 699
Pages 3
The film's opening and closing sequence include a 360 degree rotational shot of Rocket in the centre of a face off between the gangsters and the police, unsure of where to turn. This is symbolic of the story of the film in that his life can take one of either direction. The narrative is then broken down into a series of vignettes which tell the story of the favela and the central characters, and ultimately which path Rocket decides to take.

I argue that this film was imperative in raising awareness of both the existence of as well as the issues within the favelas in Rio de Janeiro, and was one of the first cultural representations to emerge from Brazil to show the darker side of the city and an alternate reality to what is commonly perceived about Rio, that is postcard images of beaches, sunsets and samba. Via this cultural vehicle I argue that it was possible to begin to conduct businesses in the city such as 'favela tour' and 'favela party' due to interest from foreigners in seeing and experiencing a slice of life in the favelas. Which raises the question: Did this film glorify life in the favelas, or did it depict a realistic perspective of reality? How has consciousness raising of the foreign public since affected the inhabitants of these urban spaces and has this effect been positive or negative?

I argue that one of the key strengths of the film is realism. The actors are amateurs recruited from the favelas, and the central character Rocket (Alexandre Rodrigues) is from the Cidade de Deus favela itself, which lends authenticity and personal perspective to the characters. The film was shot inside a real favela rather than a film set, taking the viewer directly into the urban space of favela inhabitants.

There are several key themes in the film which I will outline below and which raise points of discussion related to the reality of life for favela…...

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