“Fight and you’ll never survive….. Run and you’ll never escape.”
This 2002 Brazilian movie, based on a novel by Paoli Lins, is a directorial master piece by Kátia Lund and Fernando Meirelles with majestic screenplay, fantabulous acting & the narration is beyond perfection. A word of caution: Watch this movie with no feelings involved. Even if you have any, this movie will deprive you of it and will leave you with nothingness. Yes, when you see the short-pants running in the streets carrying guns and killing innocents just for their own sadistic fun, all the empathy for their state will be lost. It’s about the deprivation of society and emotions.
This movie enlightens the viewers about the life at the world’s most notorious slum, Rio de Janeiro’s City of God, a place where combat photographers fear to tread, police rarely go and residents are lucky if they live to the age of 20. The story is about the streets where you can see 5 year olds with guns and carrying out open shootings. Drug dealing, getting high, rivalries, robbing, killing and getting killed is the main outline of the life on the City Of God streets. So, you can say scholastic ambitions are almost nil but still, even with all these absurdities, this boy Rocket(Alexandre Rodrigues), with an artistic eye and a dream of becoming a professional photographer finds his way out.
This movie starts with a story of an amateur gang Tender Trio who gets it pretty bad and with their downfall rises Benny(loved by all, charismatic, friendly, into brands & fashion, a romantic and is a gang lord for status and money) and Lil’ Dice/Lil’ Zé (a psychotic killer). Benny & Lil’ Zé becomes one of the most violent gangsters in the City of God as they start up their own gang, kill many rivals, and make many enemies. Everything goes smooth till Benny decides to retire and leave the city with his girlfriend but gets shot, accidentally, on his farewell party. This gives rise to the inevitable battle between Lil’ Zé and his rival Carrot who partners with Knockout Ned (seeker of justice but becomes a warrior legend himself). The war between Knockout Ned and Li’l Zé is based on their real life counterparts. Rocket and Lil’ Zé’s paths cross at many points in the movie. In the end, it’s Rocket who documents the who war and sells it as his ticket to escape.
This movie leaves you thinking about the state of people facing these horrendous situations throughout their short lives: the open killings, mobs, young kingpins and drugs. The state of poor people who have no one to help, no voice to raise their concerns, no ear to listen to their problems, no eyes to record the proofs, no window to the outside safer world.
This movie has been embraced by Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as a cry for help. It is a directorial masterpiece, not to be missed. If you like movies with a substance, a heavy plot based on real stories, interest in knowing more about gang of hoodlums… Go! Watch it. 🙂
Hope you will enjoy it! 🙂