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About LiminalSpaaace

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  1. LiminalSpaaace

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

    Longtime listener, first time commenter. I had some serious issues with the conversation on Black Orpheus. Amy and Justin spent what felt like a long time only talking about how beautiful the actors are and admiring their "physicality". It was weird, and reminded me more than a little bit of the party scene in Get Out. I began to sympathize with young Barack Obama, perhaps in the wrong eyes Black Orpheus is pornography of black bodies. I disagree with almost every one of Justin's gripes about City of God. How does this movie lack emotions? Even when we see that scene with the young boy being forced to shoot another boy, we see pain and remorse on his face, which is a lot more emotion than we get in nearly the identical scene in Beasts of No Nation. As far as portraying the forced indoctrination of youth into a bloody conflict, I think City of God does this more effectively even though it doesn't have the benefit of focusing on a single character. It's one of the better vignette-style narratives that I've seen because it really is telling the story of a city, not a protagonist. Which isn't to say that this film doesn't care about its characters, I'm at a complete loss of understanding this point when every character feels distinct and make the film feel so alive. I will however agree that the portrayal of women is just awful and a total missed opportunity. City of God is not hopeful, but I don't think that makes it nihilistic. The filmmakers' goal is simply to be honest about the brutality of life in the favelas. Hopefulness would only be pandering to its international audience. City of God feels raw and dangerous in a way that I don't think is even comparable to an exploitation film where those are common aesthetic elements, in City of God they are essential to the story being told and more importantly get across what this city is like. This movie feels dangerous not in a glamorous or exploitative way, but in a very genuine way that I don't think our critics appreciated. On the subject of legitimacy, how can we even compare a movie made by Brazilian writers and directors with one made by a European? If we're giving honors to a proper Brazilian film, there is only one right choice.