City of God

Cidade de Dues is a film focusing on the rapid urbanization of Rio de Janero and the consequences of that. The film did an excellent job of portraying that violence of this type is very cyclic, and rooted in poverty and inequality. Another issue is police corruption. At the end of the film though it will hopefully be exposed by Rockets pictures, but the movie doesn’t show that part, if it had it probably would have provided a more Hollywood happy ending.

Julio Cesar Pino, the author of the first article creates a new class that he thinks describes the people of Rio better, which is subproletariat, which is just below proletariats, the poorest class of working people. Basically the people living in the favelas are the lowest of low, poorer than the poorest. They had only part time or short work, which means they couldn’t advance or ever get ahead. Almost half of the population was economically inactive for at least a year at a time, which did not help the failing city. Most had to build their own shelter due to lack of money. The author then goes on to describe 3 favelas in detail, how there are 3 elements of the working class, and the chances of employment depended on three factors. Three must be someone’s lucky number.

“Favelas and Ghettos” discusses the fact that in the US there is a debate about whether race or class is a determinant for an individual becoming impoverished. The author believes that both sides of the argument leave out details. The author studies the urban settlement patterns of blacks to shed more light on this debate. The author states that the term favela does not have a negative connotation, unlike ghetto (often used in the US) which can be degrading. The concentration of races are different in each location, the US and Rio. Also, there are racial zoning restrictions in the US but technically there aren’t any defined ones in Brazil which greatly affects where minorities settle. Majority of the poor in America live in big cities as well, which is slightly different from Brazil. The author then spoke about political issues and their effect on the areas and settlement there, and what should be done to troubleshoot these issues and ultimately surpass the race-class conflict. Essentially Oliveira has high hopes for society, but if the violence seen in Cidade de Deus is cyclic, this seems difficult to control without a drastic overhaul. The younger generation will want to rise up and gain power like the ones before them.

The third article points out the language of the film was heavy with slang, showing the illiteracy of the area. In the original novel that the film is based on the author said he tried to make it poetic, because without this it would be almost impossible to read the horrible things that were happening in Rio. What is even more difficult than reading is actually watching the events be reenacted and dramatized for the big screen. Then Hart talks about how they are paralleling religion with their gang, a religion of violence. He speaks praises of the tools used to make the movie better, like voice over and flashback. The flashbacks are interesting though, often being left incomplete and leaving the viewer confused until the end when everything is resolved. At times this can be negative because instead of focusing on the storyline a viewer may begin to become obsessed with interpreting and trying to make sense of it all.