Monday, August 4, 2008

Cidade dos Homens (directed by Paulo Morelli)

Let it be clear... Cidade dos Homens (City of Men) is no City of God.

The marketing strategy of this film was to subtlety suggest it to be the sequel of City of God. While this this film was co-produced by Fernando Meirelles, one of the directors of City of god, this film comes off as kitsch compared to the superior City of God.

This is a coming of age tale of two poor youth who have struggled their entire lives in a Brazilian Favela (ghetto) in Morro da Sinuca. For their entire lives they have depended on each other for survival. Their parents were either dead or whereabout unknown. When one of the youth finds his Father, their relationship becomes strained. This plot is painted against a background of the never ending gang warfare in the favelas.

A lot of the filming techniques, such as the use of cross processed film, are recycled in this film.

While this film is not to the level of City of God, It is not completely a loss. It was a pleasure to see this film get out of the 70's and speak about life in the modern favelas. The women in the film are very beautiful... but then again it is Brazil! One personal highlight of the film is the scene in which Midnight, a gang leader and cousin of one of the main characters, is being praised during a Baile Funk concert held as a sort of pep rally. This was a step to separate itself from City of God and show modern Favela culture. Unfortunately the rest of the film could have easily been in the 70's.

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