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aka - Cidade Des Homens
Brazil 2007
Directed by
Paolo Morelli
90 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

City Of Men

Fernando Meirelles’ 2002 film, City of God, about the drug-dealing culture of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas was a surprise international success and morphed into a Brazilian television series, City of Men. Paolo Morelli’s film of the same name uses the same main actors, Douglas Silva and Darlan Cunha, and interpellates footage from that series to tell the story of Acerola and Laranjinha, (given Americanized names Ace and Wallace in the subtitles) both turning 18 and without fathers and at a pivotal point in their lives, having to either break away from their environments or be absorbed into the generational cycle of poverty and crime. .

Skilfully shot by cinematographer Adriano Goldman, it does not have the kinetic energy of the earlier film but it is a strong, well-realized story that balances the emotional quest of the young men to resolve their identity issues with the more straightforward aspect of the drug wars that blight the lives of ordinary people living in these hillside shanty towns. Rodrigo dos Santos who plays Heraldo Wallace’s newly discovered father, Heraldo, is excellent as is the the rest of the no doubt largely non-professional cast, Morelli ensuring that the film always has a high degree of credibility within its fictional format.




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