City of God (2002)

R   |    |  Crime, Drama


City of God (2002) Poster

In the slums of Rio, two kids' paths diverge as one struggles to become a photographer and the other a kingpin.

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8.6/10
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  • Fernando Meirelles at an event for City of God (2002)
  • Douglas Silva in City of God (2002)
  • Leandro Firmino in City of God (2002)
  • Fernando Meirelles at an event for City of God (2002)
  • Jonathan Haagensen in City of God (2002)
  • Alexandre Rodrigues in City of God (2002)

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Cast & Crew

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Directors:

Fernando Meirelles , Kátia Lund (co-director)

Writers:

Paulo Lins (novel), Bráulio Mantovani (screenplay)

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17 May 2003 | Decko_koji_obecava
Gangs of Rio
If you're unlucky to be born into a socially, economically and racially isolated community that has poverty, crime, drugs and violence as its everyday realities, the odds are stacked incredibly high against you. It literally takes so much effort, strength, struggle and plain ol' good fortune to simply avoid becoming a gangster, let alone do anything more with life. Most who find themselves in the situation described above never even enter this fight and out of those that do - only the rare ones succeed.

"City of God" depicts this conundrum masterfully.

In a Rio slum called Cidade de Deus we meet character after character that has the right idea, knowledge and courage to get out but somehow always ends up being pulled right back into this vicious circle. Becoming a hoodlum in Cidade de Deus isn't just a fringe career option for disenchanted rebels and social outcasts - it's the main industry.

The images of gun toting pre-teen killers are very disturbing and Meirelles uses them relentlessly to underscore just how hopeless and frighteningly predetermined life is for these kids. Many of them can't read or write but already know how to use a gun and kill without remorse. In a particularly harrowing scene, local drug lord Ze Pequeno or Lil' Ze (Leandro Firmino da Hora) exacts revenge on a disobedient gang of 9 and 10 year olds by incapacitating two of them and forcing one of his own kid soldiers, as initiation of sorts, to choose which one of the two he wants to kill. Faced with death, one of the kids starts crying crocodile tears; suddenly all the bravado is gone and he is shown for what he truly is - a desperately misdirected infant.

'If only these people had more options....' is the sentiment reinforced with every gruesome event.

Of course, this lifestyle comes a little more naturally to some than to others. Ze Pequeno, for example, from an early age when he was known as Dadinho / Lil' Dice shows a considerable lack of aversion to blood and death. In another aptly choreographed scene so that we don't know what exactly happened until much later, he more than 'holds his own' alongside much older gangsters during a motel stickup.

Also on hand is a colourful palette of characters. From our narrator Buscape / Rocket (Alexandre Rodrigues) whose ticket out of the slum is his love of photography over to people like laidback Bene / Benny (Philippe Haagensen), followed by Ze's fierce rival Cenoura / Carrot (Matheus Nachtergaele) or good guy turned bad (although it's not so simple) Mane Galinha / Knockout Ned (Seu Jorge) we see a multidimensional, pulsating, alive community that seems in need of a strong, sustained outside push to finally stop chasing its own tail and get out of this destructive cycle.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the English-subtitled version, Mané Galinha is instead called "Knockout Ned". "Mané Galinha" means "Chicken Manuel" in Portuguese, and he got that nickname because his real name is Manuel and he stole chickens. In the US, however, "chicken" is slang for "coward". To avoid that connotation, the name "Knockout Ned" was created because "knockout" refers to how handsome he was as compared to the "ugly" Little Zé.


Quotes

Zé Pequeno: Whoa, the chicken ran away. Get that chicken, dude!


Goofs

Whenever Tio Sam is in the apartment to sell Ze Pequeno the weapons, he inquires whether or not Ze has seen a mini Ruger, which is the same caliber of an M-16, inaccessible in Brazil. Ze shows no interest or knowledge of the Ruger, though he is shown holding up one just like it whenever Buscape is taking photos of the gang.


Crazy Credits

During the end credits there is shown actual real-life footage of the real Mané Galinha, or Knockout-Ned as he is translated into in the American version of the film. This is in fact the same TV interview we see constructed in the film, and we can see that the filmmakers have copied this TV interview down to the smallest detail.


Alternate Versions

The brief orgy scene in the brothel killing sequence was edited out of the version screened in Singapore, despite the movie's R(A) rating (for 21 year olds and older).


Soundtracks

Preciso Me Encontrar
Written by
Candeia
Performed by Cartola
BMG Music Publishing Brasil
Licensed by EMI Music Ltda

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Crime | Drama

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