Cidade de Deus

Cidade de Deus is a complex movie from 2002 that gives an in depth look at a favela that produced many hoodlums and many social problems for the people who lived in the favela. The movie gives insight into the tangled weave of gangs and violence and the monetary constraints of the people of this favela. It centers around a few main characters, Rocket, the narrator, Lil’ Z, Benny, Carrot, and eventually Knockout Ned. These characters become inter weaved with each other through a complex social system that they themselves created.

It could be said that the reason these people, Lil’ Z, Benny, and Carrot, were driven to drug dealing and being hoodlums in general, was the lack of money/jobs available in the favela. The Pino article says it best in the opening paragraph, “Favelados have served the city of Rio de Janeiro in every imaginable capacity, but when their services were no longer required they have been discarded like rotten fruit.”The opportunity for jobs for people living in the favelados was small, depending on which one you lived in. Pino goes on to compare three different favelados all of which had different economic issues and job opportunities than the others. Pino goes on to discuss how laborers from the favelas were lucky to get a full-time permanent job. It was very rare for these workers to get a permanent job until he discusses the last favela which was lucky enough to have plants such as GE right beside itself and gave its people more job security than most people had. On pages 24-25 in the Pino article it says that “Nineteen hundred shanties reported an average income of Cr$245 per household.” This lack of income can explain why these kids felt the need to steal and in the end become drug lords, these actions gave them the opportunity it have money that they could have never gotten their hands on before.

Oliveira goes on to compare the Brazil favelas with ghettos in New York City to help people comprehend what it was like to live in these areas. It is clear that the mentality of these areas were much different than the ghettos in America. The ghettos came about from whites leaving the urban and going to the outskirts of the city while favelas were formed by people who built their houses where they thought work would be. It was cheaper to build a house in a favela than rent an apartment in the city. They have very little political weight and Oliveira goes on to discuss the differences in these areas by comparing their political involvement. “In Brazil much of the progressive black political leadership that achieved political office arose from the community-based movement, while in the United States it arose from the civil rights movement.” pg. 84. The favelas had to stick up for themselves in politics, no one else was looking out for them like the civil rights movement did in America and this fact could also play in the creation of hoodlums in the favelas. No one was watching their back and they make it clear in the movie that the cops did not come there.

These two articles give a bit of insight into why these kids become the drug lords that they did; however, there is always more factors than one can explain in a simple article. In the favela, one had to look out for themselves and the ones that they cared about and that mentality produced the scenes that happened in the movie.