Cidade de Deus

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Grillions of peo­ple told me to watch this movie, Cidade de Deus, and while the plot didn’t do much for me [Brazilian Boyz in the Hood], the tech­ni­cal skill of the film was def­i­nite­ly im­pres­sive in a few ways. Structured in jour­nal­is­tic vi­gnettes, the film tells us about Cidade de Deus [Rio’s Trenchtown] by chart­ing the rise and fall of its var­i­ous in­hab­i­tants.

The film is very vi­o­lent. In some sens­es it glo­ri­fies vi­o­lence. The nar­ra­tor is a gen­tle soul, who wants to mind his own busi­ness and has trou­ble get­ting laid, and as he tells the sto­ry of Cidade de Deus we can’t help but ab­sorb some of his fas­ci­na­tion and re­spect for the strength and ruth­less­ness of the hoods of the slum. You can sense at some lev­el that the nar­ra­tor wish­es he had the co­jones to be a hood and shoot a gun. He set­tles for shoot­ing with a cam­era. Cidade de Deus de­vel­ops from a dusty pe­riph­er­al project with mi­nor “try to get ahead” crime in­to an ur­ban war­zone with or­ga­nized crime en­gaged in turf wars. All stuff that has been done be­fore.

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Most im­pres­sive tech­ni­cal­ly were the abil­i­ties of the di­rec­tor, cin­e­matog­ra­pher and ac­tors to in­cor­po­rate sub­tle but im­por­tant ac­tion, on­ly caught in glimpses, in­to fierce vi­o­lent se­quences. So when the cam­era is jerk­ing around all crazy-like while peo­ple are wrestling on the floor, out of the cor­ner of our eye we see some­one grab a knife from a draw­er and head out­side. Or when a se­cu­ri­ty guard gets killed we get a look at the face of his killer’s killer. The lo­gis­tics of that had to be killer. Heh.

Pretty good, but not mind-blow­ing. But I’m im­pos­si­ble to please.

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