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"city of God" Film Analysis

Autor:   •  March 20, 2011  •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,344 Words (6 Pages)  •  6,085 Views

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"In the City of God, if you run away, they get you. If you stay, they get you too"

(Cidade de Deus, 2002)

A thrilling experience of violence and notoriety, coupled with excellent craftsmanship, City of God showcases the brutal and harsh realities of the lives of its people through the eyes of the main character, Rocket, a poor, black youth, as we journey through his very personal narration. Ironically, the way of life in the City of God is anything but heavenly, where atrociously violent crimes are committed everyday by young boys and men, driven to be part of a gang, in order to escape poverty. The narrative of this film is brilliant, although unconventional. It is somewhat interactive, allowing viewers to keep rearranging the plot as it cleverly provides more and more information.

The relationship between plot and story is clear as throughout the film there are many different scenes and sub-scenes. Although the main story of the film is on Rocket's experience of growing up in the slums, the plot tells smaller stories about certain people and places that have influenced his life, which the director cleverly titles each episodic scene by having a ‘flash shot' of that specific person or place. The plot shows us these stories as distinct, but we connect all lives mentally in our heads as one big story in the City of God. This film does very well in capturing the reality of the slums by utilizing both diagetic and non-diagetic sounds. Noises of daily living like gunfire and faint sounds of neighbourhood are some examples of diagetic sounds. Another powerful tool used to recreate the mood of a specific era in which the film is set is music, which can be diagetical, like when played at Benny's farewell party or non-diagetical, when played in the background. A good example to highlight the use of music as a non-diagetical element is when it is used to ignite certain feelings, for example, when Shaggy is in awe with Bernice's beauty in the candlelight, the music begins and stops abruptly when his attention shifts back to her mother.

An excellent depiction of causality in the narrative is when Rocket's photographs of Lil Ze's gang makes the front page of a newspaper by sheer accident. This then leads to the first effect which is his confrontation with the woman journalist who "stole" his pictures, which eventually leads to him being given an internship at the newspaper company. In this case, there is a second effect. Lil Ze, obviously an illiterate, picks up the newpapers and is proud that he is now popular. Now, Rocket, much to his surprise, is asked to take more pictures and becomes the gang's unofficial photographer. This event of the photograph making front page has led to a twist of events. Bordwell and Thompson (2001) also notes that character traits are often created to play a causal role


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