the fresh films reviews

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Cidade de Deus (2002)

Directed by:
Katia Lund
Fernando Meirelles
City of God
130 minutes
Produced by:
Andrea Barato Ribeiro
Mauricio Andrade Ramos
Written by:
Bráulio Mantovani

Cast includes:

Buscapé Alexandre Rodrigues
Zé pequeno Leandro Firmini
Bené Phellipe Haagensen
Dadinho Douglas Silva
Cabeleira Jonathan Haagensen
Sandro Cenoura Matheus Nachtergaele
Mané Galinha Seu Jorge



Cidade de Deus is, along with Hector Babenco's Pixote (1981), perhaps the most internationally hailed Brazilian movie ever. It is a riveting and powerful film about life on the streets in the poverty-stricken communities in Rio de Janeiro's outer circle. As with the mentioned Pixote, Cidade de Deus tells a compelling story about way too young kids getting involved in way too hostile matters. The power of the story is indisputable and there are a handful of great performances by actors whose passion can hardly be just performances, but the joint direction by Katia Lund and Fernando Meirelles is too often style over substance and this makes the narrative suffer. At times, Cidade de Deus looks and feels like a Tarantino-movie, which would be a compliment under many circumstances, but this story is too sombre and crucial to be 'coolified'. There's no doubt about Lund/Meirelles' concern about their cause (and they portray their city and its people with the greatest respect and understanding), but they might just be even more concerned about their movie's popularity than about the people it portrays.

Copyright © 27.9.2004 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang [HAVE YOUR SAY]