Terror in The City of God

The movie for class this week was City of God. Do not let the title fool you, there was very little Godly love flowing from the streets of the city. I normally enjoy movies with a lot of action in them, I mean, I have seen Predator starring Arnold Schwarzenegger at least 100 times, but this movie was a lot darker and the violence was aimed at regular people instead of an alien from another world. The movie is based on a novel by Paulo Lins which, in turn, is based on real people from The City of God. While watching all of the violence unfold, one wonders what the law enforcment is doing. I believe that the creators of the film were very successful in picturing the slums and how the rest of society interacted with them. We soon learn that the people of The City of God are left to the will of the gangs, “The police are quite happy to allow the killing in the City of God to carry on as long as it does not escalate out of control, and affect their ‘clients’, the middle classes,” ( Hart, 206). The only time the police decide to interfere is when LIl Z decides to not pay for his shipment of guns that the police provided him with. Walking away from the movie, I felt like the killing in The City of God would not end with the death of Lil Z becuase the corrupt police organization would continue to aid in the destruction of the lower class.
The City of God movie centers around the slums and the violence that occurs there. These slums, or favelas, found in Brazil are comparable to some communities, ghettos, in the United States. There is a difference in meaning, however, between the words favella and ghetto. In the United States, the term ghetto often refers a lower class area for minority groups that often encounters violence, lower education, and unemployment. This is not the case with the term favela. In Brazil, a favela is not a negative term referring to the conditions that only lower class minority groups liive in. Another way that a favela differs from a ghetto is in the race that lives there. Oliviera writes, “Favelas differ from ghettos in that they are racially mixed,” (Oliviera, p.73). Favelas and Ghettos are similar but should not be thought of as the same.
In the article by Oliviera, it is mentioned that the government has constantlly tried to destroy the favelas. The government did not want these favelas to overrun the country and bring on diseases such as cholera. The government of Brazil created a program called Parque Proletario in hopes of providing the lower class with better areas to live while also allowing the government access to the land that the favela was currently on. Despite the intentions of the program, very little housing was ever built for the lower class. Again in the 1970s, many government programs were set up in hopes of ridding the country of favelas. The movie, City of God, never touches on the governments attempts to take over the favella. The favellas still remained after these programs and the lower classes became a product of their communities.