December 9, 2005

City of God

Cidade de Deus is a Brazilian film about the growth of gangs, drugs, and violence in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. It's very brutal, truthful, and realistic. That is why I found it a little hard to watch, as the realism makes the acts of violence disturbing. It's not glorified or vilified, which gives it a neutral documentary type of feeling. The movie moves follows the progression of things over the course of a few decades, and it is extremely important that you discard your ethnocentricity if you are to understand and appreciate what is going on.

After watching the two hour film, make sure you watch the one hour special feature documentary of the current situation in the Rio de Janeiro slums. There is a real war going on between the police and the drug dealers. Both sides have weapons, soldiers, and guerilla tactics that keep things at a stalemate in the slums. And more importantly, both sides have their good points and their bad points. There is no distinction between right and wrong. If anything, the dealers are Robin Hoods that rule with an iron fist and the police are the corrupt Sheriffs of Nottingham who protect the interests of the middle- and upper-class.

After seeing how so many conflicts of this nature drag on for so long, I've started to believe that when taken to this level of personal interest, the only way for things to get resolved is for one side to completely wipe out the other side. This seems to be the state of Rio de Janeiro, as it is between Israel and Palestine and as it was between the Hutu and Tutsi.

Posted by josuah at December 9, 2005 7:38 AM UTC+00:00

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