City of God (****)

City of God (Cidade de Deus) is an excellent movie about a subject that might seem like fiction to some people, but it represents reality for the people that live in the slums of Brazil. At first I expected to see a lot similarity of the scenery in the movie to what I know from Colombia, but in reality it showed me that I have really never known what a slum is. There are places in my city back in Colombia like Ciloe SiloƩ, and El distrito de Aguablanca, that probably mirror what I saw in this movie, but even though I might have seen them, the movie showed me that I have never really been there.

Back in Colombia my Dad worked with a lot of people that lived in poor areas, and one of the ladies that helped my Mom around the house was from SiloƩ, another very poor area of Cali. Even though I had heard stories about the violence there and how bad it was, this movie put it into perspective. Children are the ones that sometimes perpetrate those crimes. I always thought that the gangs and bad people were grown ups but as the movie depicted it most of the times by the time you are 12 you could already be a murderer.

City of God is beatifully filmed, with colors and angles really helping the story. The soundtrack was also very fitting to the action and the Brazilian sound was definitely there almost being a supporting character. The use of sound reminded of another excellent movie Run Lola Run. The acting was excellent and the movie felt very real. Even though it was not a documentary but a movie based on actual events, it felt like a documentary. The events were not only possible but real. I was amazed to see how the corruption of the police was portrayed, and also the reality that hits when you know that stuff like that happens all around us but we mostly ignore it as a society.

Where I live now there is a town close by considered a Ghetto, and well in Chicago everyone knows there are places you don’t go into. It is sad that a movie this violently grotesque is not only true but could be happening just miles from us. Even though the movie shows how drugs made things worse, I think that poverty and apathy are biggest stars in the movie.

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