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Buy City of God 2002 Online (mkv, avi, flv, mp4) DVDRip
Brazil, France
Crime, Drama
IMDB rating:
Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund
Alexandre Rodrigues as Buscapé Criança - Young Rocket
Leandro Firmino as Dadinho - Li'l Dice
Phellipe Haagensen as Bené Criança - Young Benny
Douglas Silva as Dadinho - Li'l Dice
Jonathan Haagensen as Cabeleira - Shaggy
Matheus Nachtergaele as Sandro Cenoura - Carrot
Seu Jorge as Mané Galinha - Knockout Ned
Jefechander Suplino as Alicate - Clipper
Alice Braga as Angélica
Emerson Gomes as Barbantinho - Stringy
Edson Oliveira as Barbantinho Adulto - Older Stringy
Michel de Souza as Bené Criança - Young Benny
Roberta Rodrigues as Berenice - Bernice
Luis Otávio as Buscapé Criança - Young Rocket
Storyline: Brazil, 1960's, City of God. The Tender Trio robs motels and gas trucks. Younger kids watch and learn well...too well. 1970's: Li'l Zé has prospered very well and owns the city. He causes violence and fear as he wipes out rival gangs without mercy. His best friend Bené is the only one to keep him on the good side of sanity. Rocket has watched these two gain power for years, and he wants no part of it. Yet he keeps getting swept up in the madness. All he wants to do is take pictures. 1980's: Things are out of control between the last two remaining gangs...will it ever end? Welcome to the City of God.
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Cidade De Deus is Hell On Earth
First, let me say that this film is extremely difficult to rate (for me, at least). I have been known, on many occasions, to purposely and graciously ignore a film's shortcomings in favor, say, of cinematic excellence. If I could just bring myself to do that for "Cidade De Deus," it would probably rate tops from me.

But I cannot ignore the literally horrific, ultra-violent content of this film; it is just too shocking. Yes, I know it is undoubtedly there to make a "strong" point, but this just sickens me, literally; I felt nauseous.

There is nothing angelic or heavenly about this City of God, the name of a notorious Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, ghetto slum. This is the "other side of the postcard"; it is really Hell On Earth. Hell for the gang members who deal in heavy drugs, and protect their turfs with the heaviest guns available on planet Earth. Hell for the police, who have turned satanic in their war against the drug demons. Hell for the dwellers, who get caught in the high-caliber crossfire, and must turn into demons themselves to have any chance of survival.

SPOILER --- SPOILER --- SPOILER --- SPOILER --- SPOILER --- SPOILER The scene which almost made me vomit: the initiation of an extremely young gang member. He must choose which of two even younger boys, members of "The Runts," to kill, after each has been shot in the foot by the gang boss. The Runts are the antisocial kids who disrespect society, but who are too young to be in a drug gang yet; they don't really hurt anyone, but their transgression is to cause minor crime trouble on this gang's turf. Too bad for them. They are both crippled, and one is shot in the head, right there in front of us.

The point is valid I suppose: At the end of "Cidade De Deus" we see the Runts take revenge on the gang leader by shooting HIM about three dozen times... And then THEY become the next terror-breeding drug gang from Hell in that neighborhood. The cycle of violence continues, with no end in sight.

One of my figures of merit for a good film is the "watch-it-many-times" test. I know now that this is only one factor in rating a film. I will probably never watch "Cidade De Deus" more than once; I couldn't stand to do so.

Cinematic excellence, including direction, artistic production, acting, etc.: 9 or 10 out of ten. Gratuitous Violence: 1. Average it out. Sorry, but that's the way it goes.
Down and dirty
This movie does not take any prisoners. Although I have not been into any "favella" (= ghetto) and I don't really know if the movie depicts it realistically, I do know that it is a gripping story. About kids growing up in a violent environment. Not that this movie is an action movie. It's a drama, with action scenes in it.

The style and the look remind you a little bit of a documentary, just to make things scarier/real. It fully achieves it's goal. The "actors" (the director mostly used people who really live or lived in Brazilian ghetto) are superb too. And since the story is well written and told, there is nothing more you could wish for. Of course if watch it in it's original version and don't speak Portuguese, than you will have to read the subtitles ... but it's more than worth it (and I personally prefer it that way)
a mixture of brilliance and utter disturbance
this movie is pseudo-documentary meets Little Rascals meets Peter Parker meets Scarface meets Godfather meets Lord of the Flies meets so many other classics. it's not derivative at all, but it certainly makes you compare elements to the all-time greats of entertainment.

you hope for closure for our young photographer narrator but never quite get it, coming to the realization that this City of God is truly the Land of the Damned, even today subject to profound political corruption and gang violence. this isn't your Rio from the travel brochures...

it's quite sad that more people haven't seen this film while it's been out in arthouses and other cinemas around the country. i hope someone who hadn't seen the movie will read this and be spurred to at least rent it.

verdict: 10/10.
Riveting Docudrama on youth crime in South America
I had never heard of "City of God' until two years after it's release. It's a masterpiece. This is definitely excellent film making. The story is very well told and explained about youth gang wars in Brazil. This movie is based entirely on fact and doesn't sugar coat any of the grisly or horrific details. It's fascinating to see that this was seen and filmed through the eyes of one who wanted to go straight laced and avoid being drawn by the gang wars lair. These kids are practically all teenagers from 16 to 19 years of age. They are armed, street wise, crime savvy and drug addicts. The narrative is quite clear without ever getting abundant. Some scenes are done in the hyper fast forward motion to illustrate a typical day for these kids whether discussing drugs in the slums, having sex, or getting shot and beaten. This movie is like the South American version of "Boyz in the Hood", only better and more true.
The Best Film Ever Made
Before anyone says anything, hear me out. According to the IMDb Top 250 list, "The Godfather" reigns supreme as number one, while "City of God," or more appropriately, "Cidade de Deus," is at the number 17 slot. But to compare the two is like comparing an Arnold Schwartzenegger movie to "Crash." They are just too different. But for me, while Francis Ford Coppolla's 1972 film is rightly considered a masterpiece, "City of God" is more memorable and packs a bigger punch. That, and "The Godfather" has had 30 more years under its belt to gather its legendary status. And it's in English (which, sadly, makes a lot of difference).

Now, "City of God." What a rush! Fernando Meirelles's masterpiece is a film to behold. Many critics have described films as "explosive" for the punch they pack, and/or the unflinching reality of the subject matter. But there has been no film I have ever seen that can match "City of God" for energy. It has so much energy that instead of unfolding, it throws itself at you all at once, leaving everything else to be done afterwards. The actors don't act; they don't have time. They just...are. Everything is done to such an extreme, it's surprising that Meirelles manages to make none of it sensationalistic or exploitative.

Some people will tell you that this film is the chronicle of two drug lords. While there is some truth in that, the plot, if one could call it that, is better described as the chronicle of the "City of God" itself. Characters float in and out, with the "out" part frequently involving a bang (or more likely, a series of them). The characters are given background only if and when they are needed.

Like I said, there's really no time to develop subtly-nuanced performances. The film moves with such breakneck energy that to do so would only slow it down. There are only a few characters that really matter. Rocket (Alexandre Rodrigues) is our window into the hellish slums. The result isn't voyeuristic, instead Rocket is more like a guide (albeit with only the narration addressing the audience). He's a normal teen, with interests in girls (particularly Angelica (Alice Braga)), sex, and aspirations to be a photographer. But his main goal is simply to survive each day. Also of note is Li' Ze, who we see growing up with a taste for violence as a kid (kids shoot and kill people just as frequently, if not more so, than adults). His increasingly drug-addled brain and his ambition makes him more frightening by the minute. The only one who keeps him grounded and (relatively) under control is Benny (Phellipe Haagensen), the "coolest hood in the City of God." There's some truth in that statement, as spoken by Rocket. He's the shed of brightness in this hellish city (though he's no goody-two-shoes). Finally, there is Lil Ze's rival, Knockout Ned (Seu Jorge), who has the film's most notable character changes.

But this is Fernando Meirelles movie. He throws in everything he can think of, and then some. References to Tarantino are abound, and there are probably more, but Meirelles takes the energy level up so high that there's no room for even a "please" or "thank you." Desaturated colors. A constantly moving camera. Loud noises. An upbeat soundtrack (which is the film's saving grace from becoming too grim). It's all here.

People may not agree with me that this is the best film ever made, and that's okay. I respect that. But make no mistake, it's an unforgettable 130 minutes.
Of how a chicken escaped alive
Let's imagine for a split-second that you have not read a line about 'City of God' as you click Play in your remote. As the footage starts, the camera snaps back and forth in a frenzy, people dance the samba, a party is on the make, a poor chicken watches as her mates become chicken wings. And hence we get to the big chicken run. It's the most brilliant scene of the whole movie - in fact, the whole movie revolves around it. Around this frantic scene and the shooting that follows and that sadly shows the reality of thousands of Brazilians in Rio and elsewhere. There is no space in Paulo Lins' novel for the idle hedonism of 'Capitães da Areia', the renown Jorge Amado classic that tells us the story of a junior delinquent gang in the streets of Salvador in Bahia. 'City of God' simply has no space. Not even space for the viewer. From the first scene onwards, you are permanently reminded that you aren't but a viewer, that you are outside, that you have absolutely not the slightest-faintest-slimmest idea of what it feels like to be inside. The narrative structure is a strike of genius in that sense. Not that it was a cutting-edge idea - it has been done time and time again. But the manipulation of at least three hand-held cameras, the constant sound of samba and the relapses of the story, together with the sheer vivacity of the original dialogues (mind you, I do mean the original, extremely nuanced Rio favela-slang Portuguese dialogues!!) make the movie possible to be watched without post-traumatic-stress. You are outside, and you know it. Your whole body is either stiff or numb, uncomfortable in any case. That strange butterfly-cold-revolving sensation in your stomach reminds you that you are not comfortable. The way you breathe (or don't)reminds you that you're not comfortable. The way you bite your knuckles or shake your head in disbelief, perhaps the dampness of your eyes when that young child cries in fear of being shot dead reminds you that you are not comfortable, that this is not your world. Sometimes, in your deep discomfort, your thoughts will go ashtray, only to be rescued back by the next still, the next title, the nest flashback that requires your attention. That is the stylistic exercise that achieves the objective of keeping you focused and in your seat. That is the role Meirelles responsibly takes as film director.

The rooftops of 'City of God' in the '60s remind me of Soweto. The street scenes in the '60s remind me of Soweto, Jo'burg today. Or Gaza. Or Bagdad. Or Monrovia. Or Mogadiscio. Or Rio, for the matter. See a pattern here? There is no innocence any more. There is simply the ignorance that another life is possible outside those impossible invisible walls of the favela. There is crime and punishment, cause and consequence, shoot and shoot-back, or better yet, shoot-before. It could be a war anywhere in the world. Yet, it's the city you choose to go to for holiday. You'll be dazzled after you watch these 130 minutes. Meirelles allows you the luxury of enjoying the story, despite the violence contained in it. But do stop to think about it for a minute afterwards. Think: how many of those real-life actors, casted in a real-life favela in Rio do you believe had a similar fate since 2002? Think again. This is the harsh reality. Imagine this was a documentary - you would need counseling after watching. But you do need to know what lies behind Morro-do-Pão-de-Açúcar (Sugar Loaf Mountain). Some wars happen in the gut of our society - in Rio as in Paris or L.A., and 'City of God' is there to remind you.

And, well, contrarily to what you thought, the worse in Rio is not that your camera gets knacked. Now you've learned that you'll never see the worse, lucky you... F.y.i., the chicken escapes alive (clever chicken!).
A Study in Brutality
City of God was a study in brutality. Offending all of the senses, the movie proceded in using a multisensory approach to capture the very essence of violence, in every sense of the word. Human beings of every age were tortured and murdered. A main character was depicted inflicting multiple injuries and deaths while laughing hysterically. I had to wonder what the point of the movie was. Any claim to artistic expression evaded me, entirely.
Realistic realistic movie brings you into that world It makes you understand what They are the faves that show you live to really see the cocks Realistic realistic movie brings you into that world It makes you understand what They are the navel's that show you live to really see the cocks
City of God is Not a Movie, City of God is a Living, Breathing World.
A while ago now, someone was professing to me how well done "The Lord of the Rings" is. They said to me, "You know, JRR Tolkien didn't just write a book, he created a world." Although I agreed with him that that was true I retorted that the Peter Jackson films failed to create a living breathing world similar to that seen in the books. My friend agreed but said that I shouldn't hold that against the movies because it is impossible to make a celluloid, living breathing world. At the time I begrudgingly agreed to his statement.

A couple of days ago I picked up "City of God" and gave it a try, and I can now profess that not only is it possible to project a living breathing world onto film, but it is also makes a stunning storytelling tool. While "City of God" takes you on an intertwined adventure through the past and present of poverty stricken Brazil it also takes you along with several important characters who are each fleshed out and real believable people.

I've heard this film described as an open world experience and I feel as if that is an apt description. Depending on where you chose to cast your attention on screen (Usually at the subtitles for us non-Portuguese speakers but never the less) you garner more depth into individual characters' lives and purpose. That kid in the beginning of the film who doesn't want to stand guard is his own individual character and way more than just one thing. Depending on where your attention is at any given moment you can pick up on clues that will relate later down in the movie based off of how characters act and preform in certain situations. Even Shaggy who is one of the first characters to die in the movie is a believable character and we understand his campaign, short lived as it is. Every character is considered their own unique human being and shows tremendous realism to their character.

"City of God" is not only a master piece of characterization but it is also filled with top class cinematography which evokes the feeling of a living, breathing world. From the stylized split screens which show the extent of the world outside of our lead characters to the quick whip pans which allow the camera to have personality and depth we really feel involved this time. More on the camera feeling like a character, when the world is disoriented and a lot is going down the camera motion feels the same. In many ways the cinematography breaks the fourth wall, but instead of characters coming out of this film we are transported in to live and breathe with these lifelike characters.

Another aspect worth noting is the lack of introductions in this movie. A scene will often begin in the middle of a conflict that has been going on off screen for a while. This shows how the characters in "City of God" do not live in front of the camera but rather they continue about their normal lives even when they are not the main focus. While many films use such techniques they are often implemented in a half-hearted way, as in the writers are saying "This character isn't doing anything of importance right now, hence why they are off screen." In "City of God" this is quite the opposite, where characters who are off screen are often in the middle of some of the most important aspects in the plot. This unique style of editing once again makes the world seem so much more alive and vibrant than other films. In conclusion I believe that "City of God" is the biggest accomplishment in cinematic history as both the most realistic portrayal of life ever put on film as well as the biggest argument for film being considered an artwork. I find it hard to see "City of God" as a movie per say but rather as a world that we as the audience are invited to live in. 9.8/10
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