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CITY OF GOD aka CIDADE DE DEUS
UK: Buena Vista International
Cast: Matheus Nachtergaele, Seu Jorge, Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino da Hora, Philippe Haagensen, Johnathan Haagensen, Douglas Silva, Roberta Rodriguez Silvia, Gero Camilo, Darlan Cunha, Renato de Souza, Karina FalcAo, Graziela Moretto
Director: Katia Lund; Fernando Meirelles
Language: Portuguese (English subtitles)
UK: 129 mins
USA Rated: R for strong brutal violence, sexuality, drug content and language
UK Certificate: 18 contains strong language, drug use, and violence
USA Release Date: 17 January 2003 (Limited Release - Los Angeles and New York)
UK Release Date: 3 January 2003
The main character in CITY OF GOD is not a person, but a place. Cidade de Deus is a poor Brazilian housing project born in the 1960s that as organized crime and drugs gained a foothold in the area became one of the most dangerous places in Rio de Janeiro by the beginning of the '80s. For its impoverished residents, laws are made not by the government, but by the teenage drug barons and gang leaders who rule using fear and the very real threat of death.
In CITY OF GOD, two boys growing up in this violent neighborhood take different paths: one becomes a photographer, the other a drug dealer. The narrator, Rocket, a poor black kid too frail and scared to become an outlaw but also too smart to be content with an underpaid job, discovers he can see reality with a different eye: the eye of an artist. Eventually he becomes a professional photographer, which is his redemption. Then there is Lil Dice, a kid the same age who already dreams of being Rio de Janeiro's most dangerous criminal. Before long, he will be.
Through Rocket's perspective of life, we understand the humanity of a world apparently condemned to endless violence.
Directed by Fernando Meirelles and based on Paolo Lins' shattering novel 'Cidade de Deus', CITY OF GOD traces dozens of intertwined stories of love, humor and struggle that reveal the real people inside Rio de Janeiro's drug riddled neighborhoods or 'favelas'. An extremely powerful interpretation of Lins' book, with tremendous visceral impact and modern significance, the film counts almost exclusively on the acting abilities of youngsters coming from the favelas around Rio.