City of God Film Critique

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City of God Essay
City of God takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. More specifically in a sprawling slum, or favella referred to as the City of God. This is a derisive name, as the audience learns, in that this is a place certainly devoid of anything to do with religion, peace, or tranquility. The main story revolves around Rocket, a well meaning young man who grows up in this chaotic world. Rocket has plans to escape the city by becoming a photographer, even though he has normal teenage problems like how to find money, and possibly love. He must do so while also trying to stay alive in a violent environment of drugs and gang warfare. This harrowing tale is told through a modern lens; with frenzied editing, multiple story lines, and foreshadowing in a natural almost documentary style through the perspective of the main character.

Right away in the opening scene, the audience is introduced to the City of God. A shot of a knife being sharpened is shown over and over and quickly cuts to scenes of a live chicken being cleaned and prepared to be eaten. There is celebratory like Brazilian music being played live, and shots showing women dancing while the rest of the meal is being prepared. It is clear that this is a poor area of a city, possibly preparing live animals themselves is the only choice the people have since there are likely no supermarkets in this area. The gleaming knife gives a sense of violence and power. Then what can be debated as the best emotive performance by a farm animal, a second chicken who is tied to a post is witnessing the first chicken being killed, plucked, and cleaned. An awareness washes over the fowl, it is implied, that this is soon to be his fate too. But in a stroke of luck, the chicken comes loose from his tether and makes a hasty escape. This is when the main antagonist of the film is introduced, Lil Ze. In a parallel shot, Ze becomes aware that the chicken is escaping and tells everyone there to chase after the chicken and to...
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