Brazil’s Cidade de Deus, or City of God, is a housing project built in the 1960’s to provide subsistence housing for families that might otherwise be homeless. It grew to have a reputation as one of the most dangerous areas in Rio de Janeiro. Fernando Meirelles’ film by the same name explores the lives of two boys as they grow up in this dangerous slum; one goes on to become a hood and is eventually consumed by the lawless desperation of it’s youth. The other skirts the hoods, and uses his passion for photography as his ticket to a better life.
City of God paints a gritty, realistic picture. The boys growing up there are like the chicken being chased through the city in the opening scene–desperate to escape near-certain death–and unlikely to do so.
In an age where most movies are recycled tales of comic book heros or 1970’s TV shows, City of God delivers originality. Many movies get bogged down under the weight of their own message. City of God simply unfolds its bittersweet story and leaves you to reflect on their lives. A movie well-worth watching.