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Everything posted by HenriqueLoyola

  1. HenriqueLoyola

    Episode 107 - Black Orpheus vs. City of God (w/ Justin Chang)

    Long time listener here, long time lurker. I felt like I should step out of the shadows for this one since, well, I'm actually from Brazil. And those are probably two of my top five favorite local movies. Neither quite reaches the heights of Terra em Transe or Abril Despedaçado, in my opinion. That said, I loved the episode. I do feel that there's a bit of denial in how accurate City of God is in portraying what happens in favelas here. There's a particular comment about Amy on the death rate drop in the favela (I think she said it dropped from 30 per year to 5 per year) which illustrates this. Rio de Janeiro had 5,000 homicides last year. You can find news of single events in Cidade de Deus where 7 to 10 bodies are found covered with blankets with "no visible cause of death". I actually had a discussion with a friend from Chicago where we concluded you had more murders in a neighborhood in Rio every month than Chicago in a year. Brazil's murder rate is on part with countries going through civil wars. It's not a reality that is easy to grasp if you don't live here. And I'm pretty privileged. It's a distant reality for me most days. City of God was probably the first major movie to denounce this in a country that romanticizes the favelas. When you watch local soap operas, there's always a "favela core" of well intentioned, nice and peace loving people. They're never victims of violence close to their homes. They live in somewhat nice places. They don't starve. They're not impacted by the drug cartels. City of God gets a lot of points in my book for being brave enough to offer this somewhat nihilistic point of view straight to the viewer. Pointless deaths, lack of hope and criminality being one of the key career options for people who grow up in the favela. Black Orpheus is a beautiful movie. It's a masterpiece, really. The hosts' review make it clear. But it's not a Brazilian movie. It's a French director landing in Brazil and portraying what he sees there. Fernando Meirelles is far from an expert on leading a hard life -- he is the epitome of privilege in Brazil. Rich, white, from Sao Paulo. But the brushes he had with a hard reality gave him a better understanding than Camus could ever have. I guess my point is that if you're inducting a Brazilian movie and you want to portray Brazilian cinema and Brazilian reality somewhat fairly, City of God is it. At least, from those two choices. To paraphrase something Amy often says in the show -- City of God is more representative of Brazilian cinema than Black Orpheus could ever hope to be, even though, objectively, Black Orpheus is a better movie.