Authority Turned On It’s Head
In Cidade de Dues or City of God the storyline they used of not telling the entire story in a linear fashion was very efficient. They were able to portray to the watcher the varying levels of the story by only showing what pertained to the person they were focusing on. One example of this is the scene where the Tender Trio goes and robs the brothel. They show that people have been shot but they do not show who has killed them. They also do not tell were Lil Dice has gone. Later on they show that Lil Dice went back in and killed the people. This shows that although the gang robbed the people they were not as vicious as shooting them. This helps to further the theme that the hoods are becoming more vicious every new generation. Another example of this generation-to-generation change is the chapter called “The Story of the Apartment.” It shows how the apartment was started basically from a woman just dealing weed to make some money but it shows how it moves from hand to hand and also how it changes. How from generation to generation the apartment goes in worse disrepair. One other part of this is that being in City of God you will eventually be pulled into the violence. The main motto for the movie would be that violence feeds more violence and that it is a tragic circle of life. One example of this is Knockout Ned. He is not involved in the hoods at the first of the movie. But, when his wife his raped for him being attractive he takes revenge and kills people in Lil Z’s gang. Then in Carrot’s gang he kills a man when robbing a bank who is an innocent bystander. This man’s son Otto eventually joins the gang and then kills Knockout Ned in revenge. This is why it was so important for Rocket to break out of this.
Another theme that runs throughout the movie is how fundamental the gang’s control of the favela has become. It has become institutional, religious, and basic in the way the favela has been run. Hart discusses this in his article, when he talks about the shamanistic ritual that changes Lil Dice’s name to Lil Z. It is a ritual that has been set up to bless these gang members, to support what they are doing and further it.
One of the most important parts of this movie is its placement in the “testimonio” genre. Because it was a novel first, many of the forms that are used in the book and translated into the movie. Hart points out that when making the movie they did not want to lose any of the poetic value of the novel. They wanted it to tell the story of the bad things that occurred in the favela but also to give many messages about it. Undercurrents of the media, religion, violence, and rising above are able to play out in the movie’s unique story line.
One important element to the story that Hart hints at is the importance of ever-changing relationships. They can mean the likelihood of life or death. One example of this is Benny. Benny grew up with Lil Dice but he meets one kid who changes the way he looks and brings him into the groovy group, he then meets a girl who changes everything for him and makes him not want to be a hood anymore. These relationships change him.
One of the underemphasized parts of The City of God in all the articles is that the authority that should have existed is undermined and twisted. The police as it turns out have been involved in racketeering. They are helping to keep the gangs going which in turn keeps the violence going. As stated in the article by Julio Cesar Pino it keeps the subprolitariat population. Because of the situation with economy and the debasing of it. Also, the City of God and the gang violence going on it has become a spectacle for the middle class. This is shown through the pictures being shown in the newspaper. They do not see the destroying of the City of God through violence.