City of God Analysis
This is a movie produced in Brazil in the streets of the countrys most notorious slum; Rio de Janeiro. It shows a town that is full of crime. Everybody develops cold feet, whenever they have to tread on the grounds of this ghost town. Despite these squalid conditions, there is still some ray of hope as a boy grows out of this town, with a different perception of the towns state. The movie depicts the real picture of the typical urban situation in most urban centers. There are various issues that are depicted throughout this movie, one of which is the planning of a typical urban center. Some of the most prominent issues in this movie include; life in the slums, a lack of social and economic growth, crime in urban areas, a lack of social amenities and public housing. Other planning aspects that have been depicted in this movie are the issues of government, social networking and the role of education (Massod Black City Cinema). Of particular importance amongst the themes depicted in this film is therefore the issue of planning and the possible effects of poor planning within urban centers.
The most pronounced aspect that may deal a blow to development and planning as exhibited in the movie is the aspect of street children. They are found everywhere in the town, and their numbers are in millions. This problem of street children is a remarkably good indicator of a failed planning exercise by the government. The rising numbers of the street children in the slums is an indicator of how the government cannot meet the needs of its citizens. It goes a long way to demonstrate the impoverished state of a majority of the urban families. These children run out to the street in an attempt to scavenge for food. Some of them end up doing de-humanizing jobs like prostitution, in an attempt to get something to eat. Because of their poor economic status, the children are forced to use other means of reducing or managing their hunger. They end up using paint thinners that reduce the hunger pangs and give them a soothing and relaxing feeling though they are stressed (Manitoban & Lins City of God).
Urban crime and the youth gangs are also exceedingly evident in the movie. Given their poor economic situation at home, most of the children are forced to run to urban areas to scavenge for food. It is during their stay in the urban centers, that they find themselves forming criminal gangs engaging in crime. This is in an attempt to fend for their basic needs. Most of the children on the street desire to get out of these areas, but the exits are not always easy as they always find themselves returning to the same habits. According to the movie, engaging in crime while in the slums is not a matter of choice, but rather a way of life. Crime is embraced by everyone from their early childhood years. Throughout the movie, the audience is treated to the scenes of killers who are mostly below the ages of thirteen years. This is aimed at showing the hopeless and frightening lives the children have to lead on the street. It is so disturbing that, most children here are uneducated and display a greater knowledge and prowess when it comes to the use of guns (Manitoban & Lins City of God).
An example of this is the scene where Ze Pequeno, a re-known drug dealer in the town exposes the young children to crime. The movie depicts one of the drug dealers loyal children being asked to choose which of the two disobedient children, he would kill. Most of these children are of ages between nine and ten years. This goes a long way to show ineffectiveness in the planning of these childrens education. Eventually, one of the children is killed for his disobedience to his drug master. The gangster life in the ghettos comes naturally to most of the children who grow up in these areas. This is the case for Ze Pequeno who interacts with crime at an extremely tender age, and has to battle with much older gangsters. This is evidenced by the broil that took place at the motel. One thing that comes out clearly with these street children is that, if they had an option to quit, most of them would have quit. This points to lack of proper planning by government (Manitoban & Lins City of God).
Lack of social and economic mobility is also exhibited exceptionally well in the movie. This aspect of planning is shown by the state of poverty that is evident in the film. For instance, the poverty situation of Rocket makes him use his ordinary camera to realize his dream of becoming a photographer. Ordinarily, the boy could have gone to school and attained formal training in photography at any of the universities. The boy is also forced to wait until he had attained the age of 20 years; before he can acquire a camera, he needed so much to actualize his dreams. As much as he has the photography job, he is limited to his local city where the returns are marginal. This makes him get into crime as a means of getting some meaningful income. This is despite the fact that he is peace loving. Additionally, the sale of ones products in the market is riddled with intimidation, and some people are even killed in the process. Furthermore, there is not much one can get from their products as most of the trade done in the city is barter trade (Manitoban & Lins City of God).
Another aspect that is present in the movie is the aspect of globalization of the film industry. The film industry is diverse and from different parts of the world. Globalization helps in the production and marketing of films that can receive international recognition. The film being a Hollywood one has received much following and marketing throughout the world. The film is localized to the typical life situation of the native people from where the film is produced. This film is produced and marketed by Hollywood films in Brazil. The success of this production has been attributed to the improved education for the film makers. The education the filmmakers get has helped to put the international aspect into the film and make it acceptable by many people. The social networking through education and media has also improved access and sale of the film to international markets (Massod Black City Cinema).
Lastly, the importance of education has also been emphasized in the film. Lack of education has forced many children to run to the streets and eventually engage in criminal activities. The film aims to show how the society at large should come to the realization that street families need them. They should help these children if they were to reduce and get rid of crime in most urban centers (Massey & Denton American Apartheid).
Manitoban, Bráulio & Lins, Paulo. City of God. Miramax Films. June 2004 DVD.
Massey, Douglas & Denton, Nancy. American Apartheid: Segregation and
Making of Underclass. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, MA. 1993 Print.
Massod, Paula. Black City Cinema: African- American Urban Experiences in Film.
Temple University Press. Philadelphia, PA.200 Print.