Cidade de Deus / City of God (2002)

Wow. We watched City of God last night – what an amazing film.

Based on true events around the fight for gang control in a Rio de Janeiro slum it is visually stunning and almost too brutally honest in places.

This film is an unvarnished look at the struggle for power, possession, and respect that is all too common in areas with limited economic opportunity. Especially telling is how one of the lead gangsters, Lil’ Ze, masks his insecurities with bloodlust. The lives of the gangs revolve around the main character, Rocket, and his escape from the gang culture to his emergence as a photojournalist.

City of God is subtitled and the dialog is fast. Needless to say it isn’t a “sit and read email at the same time” sort of movie. The movie deserves its “R” rating while often shielding viewers from full visual reality in its portrayal of violence and sexuality. (A+++ for cinematography!)

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