Today's film comes to us from Brazil. It's Cidade de Deus (City of God). It shows the history of a slum (favela) near Rio de Janeiro, and how the drug trade affects residents there. Many of the actors in this movie are from nearby neighborhoods. They couldn't actually film inside the real City of God, because it is too dangerous.
It starts off in the '60s, where kids watch older teenagers commit crimes and learn from them. One kid, Lil Dice (later Lil Zé) starts off robbing a hotel and killing it occupants, and as he grows up, uses his thirst for killing to control the entire favela. He deals drugs, and literally kills off his competition.
Another character, Rocket, also grows up in the favela, but dreams of being a photographer. He starts off small, but gets his chance when a photo he takes of Lil Zé and his gansters gets published in the newspaper he works at. Meanwhile, a war erupts between Lil Zé and Carrot, the last remaining rival, which is made worse by their endless supply of weapons. Rocket gets caught up in the war between the drug lords and the cops, when all he wants to do is take pictures and not die.
I liked how the camera shook sometimes. It really showed the hectic pace of the scenes. Other than that, it flows nicely from decade to decade as we see how the drugs take over the neighborhood. It also shows that in what looks like a beautiful beach resort city has areas that are filled with crime and violence, that often go forgotten, and I think that's true in a lot of cities. I will give this film an 8/10.