City of God

December 1, 20058:30pm

This is the film that made director, Fernando Meirelles (more recent work includes “The Constant Gardener”) internationally famous. “City of God” was filmed with actors plucked out of Rio de Janeiro’s flavellas. Based on the novel of the same title by Paulo Lins, the film tells the story of two boys who take different paths: one becomes a photographer, the other a drug dealer. There are many parallels between the author and the photographer character, Busca-pé: they both grew up in the Cidade de Deus favela (slum) area of Rio de Janeiro and both are redeemed through art. Lins describes his work as “developing a socially-engaged art” and this theme is certainly carried through into the film by the director, Fernando Meirelles. The movie is an unflinching portrayal of crime and violence in Rio’s City of God (perhaps also an ironic reference to St Augustine’s celestial “City of God”). Yet though it is often harrowing  Meirelles’s movie is ultimately a life-affirming portrayal of the resilience of the human spirit.

‘The film is seductive, disturbing, enthralling – a trip to hell that gives the passengers a great ride.’ Richard Corliss, Time Magazine.

‘Like a bomb exploding in a fireworks factory: It’s fierce and shocking and dazzling and wonderful.’ Megan Lehmann, New York Post.

‘A visual and aural feast that combines elements of classic gangster melodramas, crime epics such as “The Godfather” and playful non-linear narratives such as “Amores Perros,” City of God explores a deadly culture while feeling more alive than anything that’s hit the big screen in years. ‘Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune.

Winner of 47 awards and 27 nominations, including four academy award nominations for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing.

Fight and you’ll never survive….. Run and you’ll never escape.”


Share this film (1307):   

TwitterFacebookWhatsAppLinkedIn Email
Film Information
Release year: 2002
Running time:   130 mins
Directed by: Fernando Meirelles
Language: Portuguese
Country: Brazil
Classification: 18
Genre: Crime, Drama
Starring: Alexandre Rodrigues,
Leandro Firmino da Hora,
Alice Braga

View our 341 screenings by season, country, language and other dimensions.


Sign up for the Wimbledon Film Club mailing list and find out about our upcoming screenings at the Curzon in Wimbledon.

All fields are required