LAB CLASSICS: CIDADE DE DEUS
Coinciding with the release of his new film The Two Popes we return to the raw classic that put director Fernando Mereilles on the map. Cidade de Deus (co-directed by Kátia Lund) delivers a bruising, visceral experience of the vicious spiral of violence that draws kids into a life of crime, brutality and murder as the only avenue open to them.
Youth gangs took over the slums of Rio de Janiero during the 1960s and didn’t relinquish their stronghold until the mid-1980s. Only a sucker wouldn’t have turned to crime and this is exactly how naive teen Rocket (Alexandre Rodrigues) views himself. His attempts in illegal activity fail as he finds potential victims too friendly. Equally unsuccessful in love, he regularly fails to lose his virginity. Blood spills throughout the streets of the Ciudad de Deus as gang leader Li’l Ze (Douglas Silva) is challenged by local druglords and a gang of pre-teens known as the Runts. Rocket shoots all of this action with his weapon of choice, a camera. Director Fernando Meirelles combines visual flashiness with dark history in telling the story of three decades of unrest in underground Rio de Janiero.