White Balloon

Daily Journal of Mahaan, an Iranian-American student residing in USA.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Category: Cinema

Last night I watched City of God, a film by the Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles. This was the first movie that I saw from this director and my 2nd watched Brazilian movie (after Central Station)
The movie was a perfect work of art. Based on a true story, the movie takes place in a very poor neighborhood (named City of God) close to Rio de Janeiro filled with extreme level of poverty and crime (drug, mass killings, etc.) The movie has an amazing fast rhythm, filled with variety of characters and sequential and parallel events which makes you go back to the theater or the video store at least for the 2nd watch. The cinematography of the film which is done by Cesar Charlone (a name to remember), is really breathtaking. Most of it is done by hand held cameras with remarkable camera moves.

The main character of the movie is in love with photography and since he is the narrator of the story there is picture shot style in the movie which gets to its peak performance in a dance club sequence which is truly breathtaking. The movie pictures an endless sequence of criminal events filled with shooting and death but is smart not to distract the audience with the bloodshed and violence (still it can be really troubling for some people).

One part that I had some problems with: The movie sticks to the local characters in the ghetto as main creators of the bloodshed and except a short mention at the end, it really does not go into the depth of the problem which is probably led by higher levels of powers within the city and country at the time. At the end you are really astonished about the fact how things can be this much messed up in a country which has had a fairly stable government (comparing with many other S. American countries).

In a film desert created by Hollywood studios, it was really refreshing to watch a true work of art. The movie has been quite successful internationally, including 4 Academy Awards nominations (quite a surprise for a foreign movie). I hope that Hollywood also joins the international crowd to praise this work before copying many of its original techniques in the future giant studio works.
Weblog Trackback by HaloScan.com