Monday, January 5, 2009

Have you seen the City of God?

Filed under: Couch Potato-isms — jungzx @ 4:08 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

One day, bored in the house with nothing to do, no one to talk to, nothing to watch on TV, I rifled through the DVDs we had lying around. And I found City of God.

City of God

Cidade de Deus

I knew nothing of the story, of the plot, just that it was supposedly a good movie. I’ve long ago discovered that movies are best watched that way — watched blindly without expectation, assumption or any pre-existing biases.

So I stuck it into the CD player and hit play.

And I was shocked at what hit me. But an amazing kind of shock. Scandalized, rather, but of a non-sexy, rather baffling, mind-boggling, speech-impeding whoa-inducing sort.

I don’t know where to begin, but let’s begin at the basics.

Basically it’s about this city, the City of God, a slum in Rio de Janeiro. No one expects any good to come out of the city; when a crime is committed in the area, it is almost automatically assumed the culprit came from the City. It was that kind of place.

It’s about drug-dealing, corruption, and greed — for money, for power. There’s a little bit of hope, just a little. Mostly, it’s also about desperation — the mentality of “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” is etched in the minds of everyone here. Everyone — and I mean everyone — is involved in some kind of illegal dirt. Jobs don’t matter, and neither does age.

Not so innocent kids are abound.

Not-so-innocent kids are abound.

If you’re a little slow on the uptake (as I usually am in gang movies), don’t worry. I can honestly say that the narration was excellent! There were a lot of characters involved, and as is the case in a lot of gang-related movies, a lot of betrayal and backstabbing and all that mumbojumbo, but not once was I lost. Names are mentioned enough to be embossed in your brain and the story-telling’s straighforward. Also, although the flashbacks are inevitable, there’s none of that confusing artsy non-linear timelines like in the Hollywood movies. Irregular timelines are cool sometimes, but I’m just saying the way they told everyone’s stories in this particular movie was — there’s no better word than — excellent.

There were a whole lot of things going on but just enough to get you hooked. The movie was a perfect balance of everything. The drama was dramatic. The action was, er, actiony. The comic reliefs were funny! :D

I won’t go into the details as I don’t want to spoil anything. (And I want you to know as little as you can about the movie, the same way I did.) But let me tell you this: One day, when you’re alone and in the mood for a riveting movie with an explosive storyline (both literally and figuratively), the type that will get you either gritting your teeth over gigil, or screaming expletives at the TV, or both, and at the end make you go either “whew” or “whoa” or “holy fuck that was amazing,” then you should definitely watch City of God.



  1. Really, you’ve only seen City of God now? It’s like one of my favorite movies!

    Comment by Ade — Monday, January 5, 2009 @ 4:14 pm | Reply

  2. I’m glad I watched it just now. I don’t think I would have fully appreciated it if I watched it when I was but a child. :P

    Sorry naman. Haha. I didn’t know a lot of foreign films back then eh!

    Comment by jungzx — Monday, January 5, 2009 @ 4:26 pm | Reply

  3. …”child”?

    Thank you for making me feel oldER. :(

    Comment by Ade — Monday, January 5, 2009 @ 4:37 pm | Reply

  4. Interesting. I want to watch it.

    Comment by KC — Monday, January 5, 2009 @ 4:48 pm | Reply

  5. Oh, cool. Will watch it sometime.

    Comment by Anna Oh — Monday, January 5, 2009 @ 6:43 pm | Reply

  6. City of god is an amazing movie but i learned the hard way not to watch it with children in the same room. haaaaay. big mistake. i knew as much as you did when i popped it in the cd player.

    Comment by treiz — Monday, January 5, 2009 @ 7:00 pm | Reply

  7. […] ko hindi ako magbablog muna. Pero nakanood ako ng isang matinding pelikula kaya hindi ko natiis. May isa pa ngang naka-draft ngayon eh, tungkol sa isa pang pelikula. Maaaring mablog ko pa yung […]

    Pingback by Ako ay emo. « Unpoppable! — Monday, January 5, 2009 @ 7:09 pm | Reply

  8. IIRC, i passed on this one. I think, i was busy watching kung-fu movies at that time. Now, since you brought it up. imma watch it.

    Comment by Felipe — Monday, January 5, 2009 @ 9:41 pm | Reply

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