Film Review: City of God
By the middle of the twentieth century, “favelas” or slums had grown to astronomical sizes, containing mass amounts of impoverished people. These favelas were overrun by hunger, filth, drugs, and disorder, making them extremely unsuitable places to live. While the police and government do not get involved with the issues of the slums, security is provided by the community and, more often than not, drug gangs keeping control over crime. Life in a slum of Brazil is certainly challenging in more ways than one: overcoming hunger, enduring acts of crime, and robbery are just a few examples. The actual slums themselves are arranged so haphazardly on the outskirts of cities that it makes them nearly impossible to tread through freely, and negatively contributes to the disorder that already engulfs the (seemingly) infinitely vast slums. In the City of God, all of these issues are portrayed strongly through a story plot based on a true man’s life and great visual detail, explicitly revealing the harsh struggle of those who lived in favelas during this time.
Although not shown in an exact favela, rather a government project, the audience is able to perceive what it would look like. A dramatic scene where the camera casts an aerial view over the city-like slum proves how unorganized and chaotic these slums can look. All the buildings and structures are not built in sequential patterns, rather wherever a scrap of land can be built on. When the transformation of the small apartment to the drug lord’s “office” was being described, it depicted what the inside of an individual favela looked like. Dingy air fills the tiny apartment covered in filth over the worn, plastic flooring and entire surfaces. It is cramped and goes from bad to worse as the already indecent stove burner becomes a piece of scrap metal, and the barely livable space becomes infested by drugs. Only a movie could so descriptively show the horrible living conditions in...
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