Thursday, June 3, 2010

My Quest To See the 1000 Greatest:
City of God (2002)

City of God is #568 in  

Screened 12/07/09 on DVD from Netflix

Ranked #620 on TSPDT

"If you run you're dead...if you stay, you're dead again. Period."
It has been more than six months since I first watched City of God but certain images stick with a person long enough to still talk about it as if it were as fresh as a newborn peach.  Of course considering the suffering rampant in this film (and in the real life ghettos portrayed in said film) and the despicable actions of its street fleet full of non-actors (many actual residents of the ghettos shown in the film) that is one goddamn bruised peach we are talking about - and one goddamn bruised movie too.

Cinematically revolutionary at the time of its making and release (2002), City of God is the story of the youth of Brazil and the challenges of growing up in what are considered to be some of the worst ghettos in the world.  Gang warfare, drug running and a general disregard for human life (both others and their own) bathe the film with an ugly, vile light.  This harshness is made even harsher by the ultra-realism embedded into the filmmaking style of the dual directing of Fernando Meirelles & Katia Lund.

With quick edits and revolting close-ups, sudden, disorienting shift changes and a hi-def hyper-reality, City of God is both a breathtaking remarkable film and a disturbing socio-economic repugnance.  A tale where the strong don't even survive.  City of God is a film that takes the daring experimentations of Glauber Rocha, Brasilia's very own enfant terrible (as well as the aesthetic found in much of third world cinema today, especially the work of Kiarostami and his ilk) and mashes it up with the in-your-face, post millennial cinema of the no consequence Zero Generation of the likes of modern day French provocateurs such as Gasper Noe and Bruno Dumont.  A movie of hatred and self-loathing that is simultaneously luscious in its execution, City of God is a motion picture of vile pulchritude indeed.


AlexGein said...

Vile Pulchritude is what I'm calling my autobiography.

Ta for the title :)

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