City of God (2002).
Directors: Fernando Meirelles & Kátia Lund
City of God is a Brazilian film spoken in Brazilian dialogue. It portrays how life is growing up in a rough neighbourhood, where the gangs have more authority and power than the police. Life here can go two ways, shown in the context of two friends; one who becomes a photographer and the other a drug dealer. The narrative, spans a period from the 1970s-1980s. This extensive duration demonstrates how the fight for survival changes and develops with each person who rules the streets. The underlying message is street life has a hold and control on you, to be involved with it or to break away from it has its consequences.
‘In the city of God, if you run away they get you and if you stay they get you too.’
The cinematography is really well edited, which heightens the suspense of the narrative. You really get a sense of the environment from the establishing scene which portrays people preparing street food, then one chicken manages to escape, which sends the audience on an exploration through the streets as group chase after it relentlessly.
It is a fast pace film, with a surprise around every corner which really keeps you on the edge of your seat. The raw vibe it presents is helped by hand held cameras which provide more intimacy, captivating you, propelling you into the culture of Brazilian street life culture.