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Brazil Films and National Politics – City of God

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 2122 words Published: 11th Apr 2017

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Brazil Films and National Politics – City of God


Culture and Politics: Culture in all its form happens to be the mirror of the society and the political scenario. Since ages primitive and ancient, intellectuals have used the platform of culture as the media through which they have vented their feelings regarding the popular happenings that have been enveloping them. Various types of literary movements and literary works, both novels and poems have been created by literary geniuses of various eras that have been showcasing the popular norms of every contemporary age. These literary works have along with reflecting the popular social and political order of the day had also become a very convenient stage where resistance and revolution against the same had been declared. Such stages often proved to be successful due to their immense social reach and appeal. With the innovation of motion pictures we see that culture and art did find a new dimension. Soon the creative geniuses of the arena of film making did use the various raging contemporary political and social issues as the protagonist of their film plots to churn out some of the most influential films of all times. It has been often observed that the various trending cinema does reflect some of the most recent issues that happens to be coloring the current social and political condition and in turn these films also has a major influence in shaping up the future trends in the arena of politics, society and also the future patterns of culture.


Brazil as a Nation: America is often referred to as the pot boiler of cultures and it is one for sure. Out of the country the Americas or the Latin American countries are the ones that happens to be standing out in the said genre. Brazil is one of the most noteworthy countries of the Latin America both in terms of its geographical area and the population volume. In this context we see that Brazil which is officially the Federative Republic of Brazil is in fact the largets country in South America as well as the Latin American area. The nation is the World’s fifth largets country in terms of the area and the population mass and is again one of the largest Portugese speaking nation in the world and is the only Portuguese speaking country in the Latin American region. The nation is bound by the Atlantic Ocean on the eastern side and has a coastline that stretches for a distance of bout 7491 km. The borders of the nation touch the borders of most of the nations in the Latin American region other than the nations of Ecuador and the Chile. The nation as a whole happens to occupy nearly 47.3 percent of the South American Continent. The nation has a long history of very tumulus political conditions that had been affected by the various change of political authorities which has also been interim by very violent outburst and civil security uncertainty. In the current times we see that the political instability of the country has some what abed and the country has seemed to found its long sought political stability. However even in the present scenario it could be said that the index of violent crime in the country is quite high especially the instances of gun violence and homicide is quite large in number. In the year 2012, the WHO estimated a number of 32 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants that has been stated to be the highest rate of intentional homicide in the entire world. The nation is however not very unanimous in its crime index in all the parts of the nation. Certain parts of the country seem to have a comparatively larger index of crime instances than the others. Brazil in fact has the third highest prison population in the world. The whole phenomenon clearly reveals that the number of criminals in he country is quite surging, which in fact happens to be reflecting the loop holes and the vices of the political and the economic systems of the nation.

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Brazilian Film Industry: Brazil again as an economy is quite vast and diversified. In fact it could be said that the national economy is a vastly researched and investigated arena with in the social structure of Brazil. Out of the various industries that do exist within the super structure of the Brazilian economy, the industry of film making in the contemporary times happens to be no insignificant stream. The Brazilian cinema wsa introduced in the country by the early 20th century. The stream did not happens to be an immediate success but at the same time we see that with time the stream did establish itself not just as a popular form of entertainment but also at the same time it again became a consolidated form of revenue generating source. The Brazilian fim making industry has seen its own ups and downs and for a long time has been dependant on the state funding and incentives programs. The Brazilian fil industry did come into operations as early as the late 1890s. The initial black and white filsm that were made had been mainly on the local events that had taken place in the contemporary Brazilian society. In this case we again see that the later age films that were made and were the first of its class of fictional works and were known as the posed films were mainly fabricated on the local events of crimes and other political agenda. The first success of this genre was Francisco Marzullo’s “Os Estrabguladores” that had been released in the year 1906. As mentioned earlier the film industry of the nation was considerably supported by the State and the government. Much amount of the funding and the economic investment into the creation of the films were mainly made by the state as a result of which we see that the control of the government over the various facets of film making was again quite strong. This is a trend that in the later ages did happens to wan. In the later ages it was in fact found that slowly the investment of the state and the government into the film making operations did diminish considerably as a result of which we see that the slowly the art and the genre of making and producing films and cinema became an independent genre and we see that the government and state say and opinions were many times not given the chief importance. As a result of same we see that though the control of the government and the State authorities did not erase completely yet, Brazilian cinema did evolve as an independent form of art and creativity, that reflected the moral and the social and the political matters and issues in the contemporary context and also did attract attention of the common population just as the political heads towards the reigning problems of the nation.

City of Gods (2002): From the huge labyrinth of the various films that has been made in the Brazilian context and in the same industry, in the article we will be throwing a flood of light on the film City of God that was called in Portuguese Cidade de Deus. The film was Brazilian crime drama that was directed by Fernando Meirelles and was again co directed by Katia Lund. The film was released in the homeland in the year 2002 and overseas in 2003. The film story was adapted by a novel of the same name however the plot of the film was influenced by certain events of the contemporary society. The film through its storyline does depict the growth of organized crime that could be seen in the region of Cidade de Deus or the suburbs of the capital city of Rio De Janeiro. The film era is that between 1960s to the 1980s. The climax of the film shows a war between the drug dealers and the Knockout Ned. The tagline of the film happens to showcase the contemporary situation of the Brazilian society where the rate of crime happens to be quite high – that clearly reflects the idea that one is damned if he runs and is again damned if he does not. The Film was a world wide success and also attained world wide critical acclaim.

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Relevant against the National Backdrop: As mentioned earlier the Brazilian nation and also its culture is quite a fusion and has seen a large number of changes. Once again we see that the nation and its society even in the current times happen to face some very violent instances of crime and transgression. It is against the same backdrop that the film “City of Gods” have been depicted that set against the contemporary times happens to show case brilliantly the various ills and vices that happens to rest in the society of Brazil. Although the time pace of the film is not exactly current, nevertheless the current state of criminal violence and frivolities have been very aptly depicted in the film, that in its trails also highlights the various shortcomings and the loopholes of the political system of the nation. In this context it would not be completely wrong to point out that the various crimes that do take place in the context of the Brazilian society also has a strong input from the various wrong tremnds of the political scenario. In this context we see that the cinema City of Gods along with portraying the ills of crime, gang war and the vicious cycle of drugs that is prevalent in the nation also within it scope portrays the corrupt political super structure that happens to be fostering crime and anarchy. Hence the popular depiction not juts made the common population all the more aware of their own misery but at the same time did again attract the attention of the political and the economic elite that did turn their attention towards the problem of the Hybrid society of Brazil.

Effect on the National Politics: Although many people of the international world beliefs that the Brazilian cinema is nothing more than the earlier comedies such as the chanchadas or the exotic sun bathed sea beaches that will be showcasing sun tanned bodies against the backdrop of a tropical paradise. Although this type of cinemam is not diffiocult to find in the Brazilian arena, nevertheless we see that Brazilian films in its maximum part is quite unflinching, confrontational and often on the brink of exteremely violent. In fact many critiques happens to say that Brazilian cinema is the most radical form of cinema. In fact it is the platform where the struggle for the country’s identity is activated and fought. City of God is far from being the escapism cinemamthat would export its audience to a world of color and fantasy and quite unlike the Carmen Miranda films. Like the Brazilian cinema history this film again has a more tilt and inclination towards solemn film making, that brings the attention of the national political figure heads towards the regining problems and the ragiung issues of the era. This again has helped the political heads of the nation to have better understanding and gain insight into the psyche of the common people and the weay they happens to be viewing their nation and its society and the life that is offered to them by the both. In a correspondence to the same the national leaders could take the required and the decisive steps that would be fortifying the security and the civil peace issues of the nation, that would be curtailing the growth of crime and would be restoring a much more stable and peaceful social life for the population of the nation, that again will be much more conducive for the growth of the nation and its people at the very same time.


On a concluding note it could be said that cinema is nothing but a popular portrayal of the common life and the common population. The trending phenomenon and the reigning agendas are often found to be the central issues of the films. In the recent times we see that films in maximum cases can be divided into two genres – the commercial and the influential. The commercial cinema is more into fantasy and fictional where as the influential films does cast the existing trends in the society and often creates ripples in the political level as well. The film City of Gods happens to be such a film that did depict the evils of crime in the Brazilian society with a lot of craft and in depth style, which in its totality again not just reflects the political system of the country but also influences the operational patterns of the same.


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