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City of God (2002)

Cast: Jonathan Haagensen, Alexandre Rodrigues, Matheus Nachtergaele, more...
Director: Fernando Meirelles, Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund, more...
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Miramax
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Costume Drama/Period Piece, Coming of Age , Classic Crime, Crime, Classic Crime, Latin America, Brazil
Running Time: 130 min.
Languages: Portuguese
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
    see additional details...

Fernando Meirelles' City of God is a sweeping tale of how crime affects the poor population of Rio de Janeiro. Though the narrative skips around in time, the main focus is on Cabeleira who formed a gang called the Tender Trio. He and his best friend, Bené (Phelipe Haagensen), become crime lords over the course of a decade. When Bené is killed before he can retire, Lil' Zé attempts to take out his arch enemy, Sandro Cenoura (Matheus Nachtergaele). But Sandro and a young gangster named Mane form an alliance and begin a gang war with Lil' Zé. Amateur photographer Buscape (Alexandre Rodrigues) takes pictures of the brutal crime war, making their story famous. City of God was screened at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. ~ Perry Seibert, All Movie Guide

Read GreenCine's exclusive interview: "From the Favelas to Nairobi: Fernando Meirelles".

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GreenCine Member Reviews

A masterpiece by SBarnett March 20, 2006 - 9:08 AM PST
A coming of age story from the favela wars (translation for US: favela = ghetto), De Sica's "Bicycle Thief" for a new century. In the wake of Katrina, is there any doubt that this film holds a mirror up to US, a mirror in which we see ourselves--the difference being the overwhelming force and efficiency with which the US marginalizes, polices, and imprisons the So Poor And So Black? There is violence in this film but it is by no means a violent film, rather a lyrical and impassioned and supremely courageous one. Watch the Special Feature, a short documentary about the favela wars, just to see and hear the clarity and resolve of Hélio Luz, police chief of Rio de Janeiro in the late 90s.

Watch the special feature. by dojothemouse April 18, 2005 - 10:41 AM PDT
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful
City of God is fantastic. The DVD includes an excellent documentary titled "News from a Personal War" about the drug war in Rio de Janeiro. Definitely watch it. "News From A Personal War" is to the war on drugs as The Battle of Algiers is to the war on terror.

Do Not Move to the Burbs! by eggshape February 22, 2005 - 10:08 AM PST
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful
The synopsis is not accurate, but the members' ratings are on the mark. The movie follows a group of children who grow up in the slums around Rio de Janeiro. They live in the "City of God", perhaps named because its human and animal occupants live but a breath away from death. The complex and intertwined stories of the characters are told through its main protagonist, Rocket. Their lives are looped in startling violence between moments of tame beauty. In these slums, God is asleep or insane, and it is human ability, talent and will that fight to survive and thrive. Social mobility is wrought with blood and grit, molding even Rocket's amazing outcome. This movie will make you slack-jawed, wide-eyed, laugh, breathless, and leave you full of wonder. What's more, it is based on a real story. Mechanistically, the movie is simply superb.

Plus, many of the actors are from the actual City of God and are not pros!

>> more reviews

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 8.26)
709 Votes
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