Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund: Cidade de Deus / City of God (2002)

Cidade de Deus / City of God (2002), Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund's film based on Paulo Lins' novel -- both grounded in historical and contemporary reality -- causes chills (and evokes empathy) in its observations of life and death in the vortex of drug-and weapons-fueled urban street warfare. Set in the favela of Cidade de Deus that straddles Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, it's an excellent, if often horrifying, film, spanning the latter 1960s to the early 1980s.    
Cidade de Deus / City of God (2002) is like a combination of Lord of the Flies (the 1954 novel and subsequent movies) and A Clockwork Orange (the 1962 novel and later film) - only with heavier weaponry and more widespread violence. Above all, it has the feel and texture (albeit in full color) of a Luis Buñuel masterwork released in 1950 - Los Olvidados [The Forgotten Ones]. 
Age is no barrier to becoming a trigger-happy monster like Li'l Dice here. As Li'l Zé Pequeno, he grows up to become an Al Capone of the favela.

I saw, too, Notícias de uma Guerra Particular / News of a Private War (1999) -- the accompanying documentary by Kátia Lund -- which is also excellent. It brings us up to date to the end of the 20th century. 

Both films remind me of comments made by Frederick Douglass in 1886:  

"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." 

Today's Rune: Harvest. 


Charles Gramlich said...

Horrifying to think how real such things are.

the walking man said...

I do not need a movie to see child thugs and killers, or to help contemplate the surreal reality of being in this world at this point in time.