City of God

Directed by Fernando Meirelles

Every year at the Cannes Film Festival there’s a ‘buzz’ film that appears from nowhere. In 2002 that film was CITY OF GOD, Meirelles’ feature directorial début, based on the hard-hitting, best-selling novel by Paolo Lins. The film reveals the harsh life in the hillside favelas (slums) where violence has been transformed into a banality. The housing estate Cidade de Deus is one of the most dangerous places in Rio – home to drug-dealing and organised crime run by gangs of kids. Spanning the late 60s to early 80s, the film follows two boys as they choose their paths to negotiate the dangers of the favela. Rocket discovers photography and sets out to record the life around him whilst Lil Dice’s dream of being the city’s most dangerous criminal is nearing fruition by the time he is 18 and becomes the notorious Lil Zé. The film’s young cast is largely non-professional, drawn from the favelas, giving intense performances based on direct experience. CITY OF GOD pulses with a rough energy, from the eclectic soundtrack to the evolving cinematography and production design.

130 minutes

Country of origin:
Brazil and France

Year of production: