‘City of God’ (2002)
The favelas encircling Rio and other Brazilian cities are part of the sad, tragic story that is so familiar in many countries throughout the African Diaspora. According to a Google Translate version of a government-sponsored geography website:
“One of the most visible aspects of exclusion and segregation are the slums of Rio, whose population is mostly made up of descendants of slaves. For Andrelino, the favela is a deleted space, as were the quilombos, the victim of a strong state repression, which deals with the communities as “criminalized spaces,” where everyone is a suspect until proven otherwise.”
Like their counterparts in slums throughout the diaspora, the families who live in favelas have faced centuries of exclusion from opportunities. They exist within a larger society that is unapologetically consumerist, tying one’s social status to material possessions.
The outcome is similar to many places where weapons and illegal substances are available: unemployed youth and young adults are often involved in violent crime and other desperate acts.
“City of God” documents this ruthless side of Black Brazilian life without restraint. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart, but action fans will never get bored.