Cidade de Deus (City of God)
2002
*****
Director: Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund
Cast: Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino, Phellipe Haagensen, Alice Braga

This mesmerising Brazilian crime drama is set in Cidade de Deus, a favela of Rio De Janeiro, where we follow the lives of a handful of kids from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. Their home is a brutal and disturbing place where human life is a cheap commodity and crime seems like the only feasible career path. Here it is not uncommon that school-aged children carry guns and act like grown men. The story and the characters alone are worth your while, but Fernando Meirelles (and Kátia Lund) depict it with so much visual energy and narrative fluidity that I was nailed to my seat. Adapted from Paulo Lins’ 1997 novel which is partly based on real events.