City of God
Although overlooked by the Academy for a Best Foreign Picture nomination last year, Director Fernando Meirelles' Brazilian slum epic is a profound, stylistically expansive depiction of three decades of child gang warfare on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro with non-actors playing their poverty-ridden lives for the camera. The only other film that approaches City of God's clear-eyed social narrative about the merciless plight of Brazil's downtrodden adolescent underclass is Hector Babenco's Pixote (1981). Set in a real life drug and violence- ridden housing project called Cidade de Deus, the story follows two boys who take opposite paths. One chooses to pursue photography, while the other becomes a ruthless drug dealer. The film is based on a biographical novel by Paolo Lins, and is greatly influenced by cinematographer Cesar Charlone's dramatic use of anomalous film stocks to emphasize the story's shifting decades.
Rated R. 140 mins. (A+) (Five Stars)
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