Author Topic: City of God  (Read 37975 times)

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Sanjuro

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City of God
« Reply #90 on: October 30, 2003, 03:08:09 AM »
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i just watched this film again and realized how really great it was... i thought it was great the first time, but after seeing it again, i realized i have not seen a movie this good in a long time.
is it true that meirelles(sp?) didnt make any money out of the movie, that he sold the rights to it all?
"When you see your own photo, do you say you're a fiction?"

MacGuffin

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« Reply #91 on: November 08, 2003, 10:49:18 AM »
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Well this slipped under the radar without an announcement.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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modage

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« Reply #92 on: November 08, 2003, 10:52:55 AM »
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waaaaaaaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! :-D  :-D

this is weird though, barnes and noble and dvd empire and best buy have dec. 16th?
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SoNowThen

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« Reply #93 on: November 08, 2003, 11:22:26 AM »
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Quote from: MacGuffin
Well this slipped under the radar without an announcement.


 :!:  :!:  :!:  :!:  :!:  :!:  :!:  :!:  :!:  :!:  :!:  :!:  :!:


Hot damn!!!! Good good good good good news......
Those who say that the totalitarian state of the Soviet Union was not "real" Marxism also cannot admit that one simple feature of Marxism makes totalitarianism necessary:  the rejection of civil society. Since civil society is the sphere of private activity, its abolition and replacement by political society means that nothing private remains. That is already the essence of totalitarianism; and the moralistic practice of the trendy Left, which regards everything as political and sometimes reveals its hostility to free speech, does nothing to contradict this implication.

When those who hated capital and consumption (and Jews) in the 20th century murdered some hundred million people, and the poster children for the struggle against international capitalism and America are now fanatical Islamic terrorists, this puts recent enthusiasts in an awkward position. Most of them are too dense and shameless to appreciate it, and far too many are taken in by the moralistic and paternalistic rhetoric of the Left.

RegularKarate

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City of God
« Reply #94 on: November 08, 2003, 12:03:54 PM »
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HA!  Netflix still has it listed for Feb.

good news

cine

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City of God
« Reply #95 on: November 08, 2003, 04:30:39 PM »
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"Dude, I think I just filled the cup."

MacGuffin

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City of God
« Reply #96 on: November 19, 2003, 12:33:24 AM »
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Quote from: RegularKarate
Netflix still has it listed for Feb.


Looks like they are correct, although Amazon hasn't updated their release date:

City of God on 2/17/04
Acclaimed film also comes with a one-hour documentary.
 
On February 17, 2004, Miramax Home Entertainment will release the highly-acclaimed City Of God, the story of crime and punishment inside the gangs of Rio de Janeiro's slums, on DVD for a suggested price of $29.99.

The film's unflinching look at the Rio slums has been hailed by international audiences as a triumph of cinema, earning a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language Film (2003) and winning the American Film Institute's Festival Audience award (2002).

The film is set in the Cidade de Deus (City of God) housing project that's been infested by crime and drugs, making it one of the most dangerous places in Rio de Janeiro. The story focuses on two boys, Rocket and Lil Dice, growing up in this violent neighborhood and doing what they can to survive.

There isn't much detail on the DVD, other than a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen print, Dolby Digital audio and a one-hour bonus feature, News From A Personal War.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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classical gas

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City of God
« Reply #97 on: November 19, 2003, 01:21:40 AM »
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that sucks, i've never seen it.  now i have to wait until february for this and 'kill bill: vol.2'; yet, it will be a good month in a month of typically boring films.  
wait, didn't this movie come out last year?  and it's won't be on video til next year??

MacGuffin

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City of God
« Reply #98 on: November 20, 2003, 11:57:20 AM »
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Fernando Meirelles's City of God captures life in one of Rio de Janeiro's most notorious favelas (or slums) with the brutal realism of a modern-day war film and the bravura style of a visionary new filmmaker. "It is a war movie," Meirelles insists of his film, only the soldiers here are streetwise Brazilian kids who learn to kill before they hit puberty, and the turf under dispute amounts to little more than ghetto streets carved up and claimed by teen drug dealers.

Adapted from the book by Paulo Lins, City of God tells the story of a neighborhood under siege from within. In the realm of Rio's godforsaken Cidade de Deus, children are born into sin and must fight to reclaim their innocence. That outlook may come as a rude awakening for American audiences, who aren't accustomed to watching young people face such hardship in Hollywood films. (Hey kid, you say you see dead people? So what? That's nothing compared to the carnage these children face everyday.) But Meirelles's film ultimately belongs to the location itself -- the director actually began his professional life as an architect -- though you can't tell the story of a place like this without acknowledging its fallen angels. To better understand Meirelles's searing new perspective, it helps to look at the films that have influenced him.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Iracema
(1976, dir: Jorge Bondanzky, Orlando Senna, starring: Edna De Cassia, Paulo César Peréio)
When I saw this film for the first time, I was in school studying architecture. This is one of the films that made me decide I wanted to do films. [It may be] very obscure for you, but for me it's a huge reference. It's a kind of docudrama about a little Indian girl crossing a road in the Amazon with a truck driver. It's a written story, but it feels like a documentary. Besides the truck driver, all the other actors were amateurs, and the girl was a real prostitute, a 13-year-old prostitute. Sometimes you think you're watching a documentary, and then you realize it's something that was written. They say their lines, their dialogue, and suddenly the documentary invades the film. You don't know if it's acting or if the sequences are real. It's really an amazing work. On City of God, [co-director KatÃ-a Lund and I] did 2,000 interviews in a lot of slums in Rio, and we picked 200 boys. They were boys that were interested in doing a workshop for actors. We didn't even tell them that we were going to do a feature. After six months, when we finished this workshop, we took our main characters [from that group].

Secrets & Lies
(1996, dir: Mike Leigh, starring: Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Brenda Blethyn)
In this film, Mike Leigh didn't even have a script before beginning. Working with [Blethyn and Jean-Baptiste], he discovered his story and came up with all the dialogue, so the two actresses are the authors of the film. Mike Leigh has these incredible emotional moments. It just seems very real, very naturalistic. This kind of work with actors was a good reference for me. Instead of telling the actors on City of God, "you must say this line and your reaction must be like that," I would let the actors create the dialogue and let them find their own emotions, and that's the same way Mike Leigh works. All the actors [who are] white or older than 30 are professional. All the others are kind of unknown actors in Brazil, and all the boys are amateurs. We didn't give them the script. We just explained to them what was the intention of each sequence and the intention of their characters, and we let them improvise the dialogue, and by improvising over and over, that's how we came up with all the scenes. They're saying their own words.

Nashville
(1975, dir: Robert Altman, starring: Lily Tomlin, Ned Beatty)
Altman knows how to handle a lot of stories at the same time, how to include a lot of characters and make you interested in all the stories. It's really amazing how he does that. I watched some of his films while we were writing to see how he can handle so many stories at the same time. Before beginning my rehearsals, I had already [written] four versions of the script. I knew precisely how many sequences I wanted to do and the intentions for each sequence. I said [to the actors], "Okay, here in the beginning of the sequence, you're in this situation. In the end, you must kill this guy and say this to this other one. [It doesn't] matter what you do in the middle, but this is how it must begin and this is how it must finish." The thing is that all those boys knew much more than me or KatÃ-a about violence and about this environment because they live in favelas. All of them have friends or brothers or cousins who were drug dealers before. That's why I decided to work with non-professional actors, with boys from those communities, because I knew that they could help me a lot.

Goodfellas
(1990, dir: Martin Scorsese, starring: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta)
I think City of God has a lot to do with Goodfellas because, like Goodfellas, it's about a boy explaining to the audience how the Mafia in Brazil works. But actually, I didn't try to do a Brazilian Goodfellas. I have a lot of characters, and I have somebody outside the crime telling the story because that's how it is in the book. In the book, Paulo Lins tells the story. He was a guy who lived in City of God. Both films are shot in very different ways, but the script [is similar] because we adapted the book. Both films happen over a long period of time. Sometimes the film goes back and forth, but it's always to explain. I didn't really think about Pulp Fiction because I think Tarantino's intentions when he changes the reel in the projector are the opposite of my intentions. He does it just for fun. It's like a game he's playing with the audience, to create a kind of confusion for them. In my case, it was the opposite. Each time I go back, it was not to [create] confusion, but to explain something, to make it as clear as possible.

Besieged
(1998, dir: Bernardo Bertolucci, starring: Thandie Newton, David Thewlis)
One thing I love in Bertolucci is the way he shows space, the way he uses lenses. At the beginning of the story, he uses all telephotos. This guy [David Thewlis] lives in a house. There's a lot of stairs and walls and textures, but you don't understand the space. Watching the film, little by little, he begins to use wider lenses, and you begin to understand that house. It goes wider and wider until the last sequence in the film, which is the first time you see the whole house. You finally understand everything. It's amazing how he works with this metaphor of showing the space related to the character. In City of God, we used only wide lenses, so in the first part of the film, when you see City of God, you see perspective, you see skyline, you see those streets. There's order, you understand the space, it's very clear. Towards the end of the film, we begin to use telephotos. You don't see sky any more, you don't see perspectives, you don't understand. There's only a bunch of boys against those walls, like they're being trapped. The City of God becomes a jail for them. There's no horizon. But that's the story I was telling, the story of losing control, of disorganization, so I used the space to show this. I'm an architect. I love space, you know.
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SoNowThen

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City of God
« Reply #99 on: November 20, 2003, 12:05:50 PM »
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Finally, somebody who understands how amazing Besieged is.
Those who say that the totalitarian state of the Soviet Union was not "real" Marxism also cannot admit that one simple feature of Marxism makes totalitarianism necessary:  the rejection of civil society. Since civil society is the sphere of private activity, its abolition and replacement by political society means that nothing private remains. That is already the essence of totalitarianism; and the moralistic practice of the trendy Left, which regards everything as political and sometimes reveals its hostility to free speech, does nothing to contradict this implication.

When those who hated capital and consumption (and Jews) in the 20th century murdered some hundred million people, and the poster children for the struggle against international capitalism and America are now fanatical Islamic terrorists, this puts recent enthusiasts in an awkward position. Most of them are too dense and shameless to appreciate it, and far too many are taken in by the moralistic and paternalistic rhetoric of the Left.

ono

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City of God
« Reply #100 on: November 23, 2003, 12:22:58 AM »
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Spoilers herein.

I just saw City of God, and thought it was nothing special.  I trudged through GT's lengthy praise, and still, didn't see anything special.  Maybe I missed something in those long paragraphs.  ;)

Anyway, to me, City of God played like a sensationalist docudrama with annoying camerawork, film trickery, and other filmic techniques used only to support the story very sparingly.  I say this because with simple editing the same effects could probably be achieved.  The handheld camerawork, for the first time in a film, was a pain to my eyes.  And I had to look away from the screen during the strobelight scene because it hurt my eyes so much.  Alienating your audience like this is never a good thing.

There is very little art to this film because it exists in the realm of docudrama, so the only "art" is in its grittiness (byproduct of the setting), the setting itself (beaches and the "beautiful" slums; ironic really), and the comparison to Goodfellas.  The art GT mentions is in the editing, but the thing is, if it was artistic, someone with a more discerning eye would've picked up on it.  Yet no one else does this.  The only art in this film is at the beginning with the chicken, and then the time warps a la Goodfellas (which, like Kael says, is merely an average movie), and the opening/jumpback at the end/subtitles.  For the record, some of it really did remind me of a Guy Ritchie flick (in hindsight).  That's not a good thing.

As mentioned before, there is the split screen element where one part of the screen pushes the other over to show simultaneous action.  Here is where the power of editing comes in, but it is really creating nothing new, as it has been done most notably in Buffalo '66 (and less notably, briefly, in The Rules of Attraction and L'auberge espagnole, IIRC), where windows actually open over Billy Brown's head, etc.  And that is one of the most truly unique instances of editing I myself have seen, though I am unsure of whether it's been done before.

The unique thing about the situation I'm viewing this movie in is I just watched Badlands.  And yeah, comparisons can definitely be drawn between those two films in a way.  The thing about Badlands is even though the characters were despicable, I still was very interested in them.  I don't know what it is about Malick's direction here, but he got me engaged.  Maybe it was Spacek's voiceover.  I don't know.

The bottom line is, there was a failure to engage here by Meirelles.  It didn't break the film for me, but it detached me from caring, because, just like with Goodfellas, I just didn't give a damn about the protagonist.  There really were no sympathetic characters in the film.  They were all despicable.  And that intangible element in Badlands that made me care was sorely lacking here.

As for the Leaving Las Vegas comparison, well, I wasn't too much of a cineast when I first saw the film (and I saw it on the same weekend as Requiem for a Dream; talk about a depressing weekend).  Because of this, I could only appreciate Leaving Las Vegas on a superficial level.  But recently, the film has been quite praised here, and I do believe for one, it deserves it, and two, I should revisit the film.  I think the comparison is quite interesting, but not because of the editing.

The editing in all these films is still way too conventional to be considered revolutionary.  I can't remember the last time I saw a film where the editing was unconventional, but there is a film on the tip of my tongue, and I'll mention it when it comes to me.  Godard's A bout de souffle (Breathless) comes to mind, like other French New Wave films, but really that film is nothing special either.  The story is an intriguing one, but the only thing that really stands out is the 20-minute bedroom conversation the protagonist and his girl share.  These things are what's important to me: character interaction, not flashy filmic techniques.

I can't really see how a film like this can be a favorite of anyone's, so I'd like some clarifications on this.  That is, how could it possibly move you, personally, when for me, I couldn't relate?  The goal of a film like this is to bring you in so you feel something.  That should be a goal of any film: to bring you in to that world.  This one didn't for me, so how did it for you, and how did it move you?  And what's more is, why is the film so worth sitting through again as one of the "best ever" would be?

I look at films in terms of scenes.  The expression "three good scenes, no bad ones" comes to mind.  There are memorable scenes in City of God (and some bad ones), but to what end?  The whole film seems like a lather, rinse, repeat of the same theme: that violence leads to destruction, and for some it's inescapable.  It also serves as a wakeup call that kids so young participate in this violence, but as we're learning in the states in the past several years, that too is no surprise.

One also has to take into consideration what feelings these films evoke as a whole, as a sum total of scenes.  I recall Lilja 4-ever, a wholly depressing film.  It never let up, and hope for its characters was only found in death.  At least with Lilja, I felt something for the characters.  But even the protagonist in this film had his priorities out of whack.  So it's incredibly odd yet fitting that I rate this film the same as Lilja.  *** (7/10)

modage

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« Reply #101 on: November 23, 2003, 12:22:29 PM »
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i think that gt retracted his initial praising to death of this, and just said it was good but not what he thought.  i think you let the hype ruin it for you.  but, after a review where youre ripping it apart its still 7/10.  so that means good.  but it seems like you wanted to be hard on it.  like "IMPRESS ME MOVIE!" you know?  like, i dont think theres been 5 better films this year, so who cares if its not the best of all time?  what is?

by the way, how did you just now see this? on your computer?  theatre actually still playing it?  other region dvd?
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ono

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« Reply #102 on: November 23, 2003, 12:56:11 PM »
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Saw it on the big screen.  My school has a film program where a committe organizes a schedule of films to bring to screen for the student body.  Last week it was Finding Nemo and Spirited Away.  This week, City of God and Whale Rider.

I didn't want to be hard on the film at all.  I go in to every film hoping it will be good, but yeah, I guess the hype did get to me a bit, and that's why all the questions for GT since he is generally so reluctant to praise anything.

Gold Trumpet

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« Reply #103 on: November 23, 2003, 03:29:22 PM »
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Quote from: Onomatopoeia
I look at films in terms of scenes.  The expression "three good scenes, no bad ones" comes to mind.  There are memorable scenes in City of God (and some bad ones), but to what end?  The whole film seems like a lather, rinse, repeat of the same theme: that violence leads to destruction, and for some it's inescapable.  It also serves as a wakeup call that kids so young participate in this violence, but as we're learning in the states in the past several years, that too is no surprise.


Well, the expression is "three great scenes, no bad ones" but I never believed in that theory anyways. The center to why I love City of God so much is the film is an explosion of editing for the effect of the viewer just upon viewing, thus a superficial film. City of God brings the world of chaos alive through its filmmaking. Its nice to say all films should go for character depth, but how could someone observe Natural Born Killers in terms of character depth? Some films exist outside that purpose. City of God is mainly about itself and the effect it has as a canvas of filmmaking on effecting the audience.

Quote from: Onomatopoeia
The handheld camerawork, for the first time in a film, was a pain to my eyes.  And I had to look away from the screen during the strobelight scene because it hurt my eyes so much.  Alienating your audience like this is never a good thing.


Its really just your personal taste. I, for one, am sure Godardian would respond the same way due to his problems with Oliver Stone and his manic editing. Every film alienates some people. You can't avvoid that.

Quote from: Onomatopoeia
As mentioned before, there is the split screen element where one part of the screen pushes the other over to show simultaneous action.  Here is where the power of editing comes in, but it is really creating nothing new, as it has been done most notably in Buffalo '66 (and less notably, briefly, in The Rules of Attraction and L'auberge espagnole, IIRC), where windows actually open over Billy Brown's head, etc.  And that is one of the most truly unique instances of editing I myself have seen, though I am unsure of whether it's been done before.


I agree nothing new comes in the editing as is accomplished with Breathless (you mention this example later). I don't think that is the purpose though. The film is an explosion of every editing technique to come out of the last 30 years into one film. Citizen Kane was seen as every filmmaking technique in cinema from Birth of a Nation on applied to one film. Its purpose is its effect.

Quote from: Onomatopoeia
There is very little art to this film because it exists in the realm of docudrama, so the only "art" is in its grittiness (byproduct of the setting), the setting itself (beaches and the "beautiful" slums; ironic really), and the comparison to Goodfellas.  The art GT mentions is in the editing, but the thing is, if it was artistic, someone with a more discerning eye would've picked up on it.  Yet no one else does this.  The only art in this film is at the beginning with the chicken, and then the time warps a la Goodfellas (which, like Kael says, is merely an average movie), and the opening/jumpback at the end/subtitles.  For the record, some of it really did remind me of a Guy Ritchie flick (in hindsight).  That's not a good thing.


So, for it to be more artistic, it would have picked up on the irony of the natural beauty and the slums right next to it? I agree it is ironic and this is all over the country of Brazil in general (I've been there), but I don't see going for that as the only artistic decision up to the filmmakers, or really the best one even. Going for that goes to symbolism, which I believe in general to be usually a bad thing in movies. This example of irony in Brazil specifically to me smells of easy symbolism in order to reduce the work.

Then you mention the comparison to Goodfellas. Yes, things are there to be compared, but the bulk of the film seems to be an explosion of every editing technique driven into the viewer for the best superficial effect it can have. The Goodfellas inspiration seems to be outer linings of the film and just connecting the stories together. The film mostly operates for its explosion of editing and filmmaking to effect the viewer just on viewing it.

Quote from: Onomatopoeia
he bottom line is, there was a failure to engage here by Meirelles.  It didn't break the film for me, but it detached me from caring, because, just like with Goodfellas, I just didn't give a damn about the protagonist.  There really were no sympathetic characters in the film.  They were all despicable.  And that intangible element in Badlands that made me care was sorely lacking here.


I think your lack of identification goes back to the filmmaking. The lead character who is trying to be a photographer, surely cannot be seen as a 'descipable character'.

Quote from: Onomatopoeia
I can't really see how a film like this can be a favorite of anyone's, so I'd like some clarifications on this.  That is, how could it possibly move you, personally, when for me, I couldn't relate?  The goal of a film like this is to bring you in so you feel something.  That should be a goal of any film: to bring you in to that world.  This one didn't for me, so how did it for you, and how did it move you?  And what's more is, why is the film so worth sitting through again as one of the "best ever" would be?


You seem to have problems with superficial films and think all films should go for character depth and all, but I consider these films to be some of the greatest films of all time but yet very superficial: Citizen Kane, 8 1/2 and West Side Story. City of God is in that category for me.

I do still  think City of God is one of the best films ever made.

modage

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« Reply #104 on: November 23, 2003, 04:10:04 PM »
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i didnt find most of the characters to be despicable actually.  with the exception of Lil' Ze.  everyone else was certainly pretty sympathetic werent they?  what was so unlikable about them?
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

 

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