City of God is the most famous Brazilian movie outside this country. I have reviewed in this subcategory, other two related Brazilian movies, Tropa de Elite and Elite Squad II: The Enemy Within. This last one, is the greatest Brazilian box-office success ever, it surpassed the adaptation for screen 1n 1976, of Jorge Amado’s Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands. This is by far the best Brazilian move I have ever seen and one of my favorite movies anyway!
The tagline is epic: “If you run, the beast will get you. If you stay, the beast will eat you!”
Fernando Meirelles, born on Nov 9’th, 1955 in Sao Paolo, is the director of The Constant Gardener, the movie which brought an Oscar for Rachel Weisz, and he also produced City of Men, a Brazilian movie, “an unforgettable tale of friendship and survival in a city where the greatest challenge is growing up” (imdb). Maybe, in the future, I shall review this one as well.
Alexandre Rodrigues is “Buscapé” – Rocket, and the movie action is viewed through his eyes. Life in The City of God favela is presented as a quest for the photographer to be, Rocket. Leandro Firmino is impersonating “Zé Pequeno” – Li’l Zé, the villain.
Phellipe Haagensen is “Bené” – Benny, this one gangster’s friend, but the coolest from all favela’s gangsters. Douglas Silva is “Zé Pequeno” as a kid, he was called “Dadinho” – Li’l Dice. He is a very talented kid and has been chosen to play in City of Men as a main character. Jonathan Haagensen is “Cabeleira” – Shaggy, Matheus Nachtergaele (the only professional actor) is Sandro Cenoura” – Carrot, Seu Jorge, a real consecrated star in Brazil is “Mané Galinha” – Knockout Ned. He is a musician also and was invited by José Padilha to make a special appearence in Tropa de Elite 2. Epic appearance! Jefechander Suplino as “Alicate” – Clipper, Alice Braga as “Angélica”, a beach girl which broke some hearts here. Alice Braga is the one who won a lot of prominence in Hollywood, after this movie. I remember her in Repo Men, a SF I’m going to review for sure.
I really don’t want to disclose anything, but some interesting facts: At the time City of God was made, the only professional actor with some experience was Matheus Nachtergaele, who played “Carrot”. Most of the remaining cast were from real-life favelas, and in some cases, even the real-life “City of God” favela itself. The amateur actors were used for autenticity, but also that professionals were not available then. City of God is set in a city renowned for its natural beauty. The movie follows the lives of gangsters and petty criminals living in the Favela. Rumors exists that what you see in the movie is pretty much based on the immediate reality. The action starts in 1960. Be my guests!
The movie is in the best 250 imdb movies of all times on position 21, with the fabulous rating of 8.7[imdb]. Normally this top changes frequently because of new releases every year, and I remember Cidade de Deus on a better position when I watched it for the first time, in 2003. It was directed by Fernando Meirelles as I have already mentioned, but in collaboration with Kátia Lund, with a screenplay by Bráulio Mantovani and Paulo Lins, which is also the homonymous novel’s author (1997). It has four Oscar nominations: Best Director – Fernando Meirelles, Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay – Bráulio Mantovani, Best Cinematography – César Charlone, Best Film Editing – Daniel Rezende.
This is a movie clip with one of the main characters in this wonderful movie (You’ll recognize which one):
It is a violent movie, but it’s made with candor and put together with great professionalism. Highly recommended, dear friends!
And here you have the trailer:
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