Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
Original title: Cidade de Deus
Brazil/France, 2002. O2 Filmes, VideoFilmes, Globo Filmes, Lumière, Wild Bunch, Hank Levine Film. Screenplay by Braulio Mantovani, based on the novel by Paulo Lins. Cinematography by Cesar Charlone. Produced by Andrea Barata Ribeiro, Mauricio Andrade Ramos. Music by Ed Cortes, Antonio Pinto. Production Design by Tule Peak. Costume Design by Bia Salgado, Ines Salgado. Film Editing by Daniel Rezende.
Excellent, totally realistic film set in the hopeless slums of Rio De Janeiro. It follows the true life story of a photographer named Rocket who grows up amid the abject poverty and shocking crime that inhabit the City Of God (the name for the poor areas of Rio). He tries to survive while taking photographs, which is his true love, after his brother sets a bad example by getting involved with small-time hoods who rob passing gas trucks for their money. After Rocket has grown up, he still finds himself in close company with drug dealers and killers who end up providing excellent subjects for his photographic work. The direction in this almost documentary-style film is superb, featuring a truly honest and unshakeable depiction of serious social issues. On the other hand, those who will be too devastated by seeing scenes involving children being seriously hurt and killed will maybe want to stop and consider before watching it. The film is a lot to subject yourself to, but it is also a learning experience about the world outside your (likely) comparably comfortable existence.
Academy Award Nominations: Best Director (Fernando Meirelles); Best Adapted Screenplay; Best Cinematography; Best Film Editing
European Film Award Nomination: Screen International Award
Golden Globe Award Nomination: Best Foreign Language Film
Toronto International Film Festival: 2002