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  HOME | Brazil (Click here for more)

Rio’s Actual City of God Seeks to Dispel Cinematic Reputation of Violence



RIO DE JANEIRO – Residents of Rio’s Cidade de Deus (City of God) favela, made infamous by the 2002 crime film of the same name, hope the Olympics will help bring new investment into the community after some locals felt that movie stigmatized the neighborhood.

Located in the western part of Rio, and northeast of the Olympic Park, the favela is mostly an area of flat streets where children play, people go about their business and young mothers walk around, an epa journalist reported.

Down one street, people in a multiracial community martial arts class practice their kicks and blows against punching bags.

Cutting through the favela is a garbage-filled canal, which runs parallel to several streets on which police are out on patrol.

There is a lot more to the story of this community than the violence portrayed on the screen in City of God, according to local filmmakers Bruno Rafael and Sergio Leal, who feel the movie was one-sided, and who hope to show the real lives of local people in their documentary CDD 50.

“Our documentary helped to inspire our community, to discover what exists within it: Football, hip-hop, funk. For us, it is still of great importance,” said Rafael.

Their documentary is a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the favela, which was founded in 1966 after the government cleared slum areas elsewhere in the city and people resettled in Cidade de Deus, according to Brazilian online news site Boa Diversao.

Leal, 44, known locally as DJ TR, worked as a researcher with the directors of City of God to help ensure its authenticity, something he knows well as he has spent almost all of his life in Cidade de Deus.

“The landscape of the period, also the music people listened to back then. The language, the way of speaking, the clothes, the cars, the wardrobe. I tried to combine the reality from the 60s, 70s and 80s,” he said.

For Rafael and Leal, life in Cidade de Deus revolves not around the blast of guns, but the rhythms of hip-hop.

“Both the life of Rafael and mine has always been marked by the cultural movement of hip-hop. We try to use it as a tool for the youths in the community.”

 

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