The opening scene of City of God is fun to watch as we see the chicken escaping from those who want to eat it. City of God engages with the cinematic tropes of political filmmaking as this film is set in the poverty-stricken communities of Rio de Janeiro during the 70’s. This film uses location shooting in Rio de Janeiro’s poorest neighborhoods, adding to the atmosphere and height of the situation where people struggle to even live. The police show up in the opening scene, which causes the residents of the community to defend themselves. Like many political films, it shows the police as the enemy. City of God reappropriated Glauber Rocha’s “the aesthetics of hunger” in showing a big group of people running after a single chicken when they realize it got loose. They all have guns and are trying to shoot the chicken down and even push people out of the way in order to get to the chicken. Rocha said “violence is normal when people are starving”, therefore we can understand the importance of the length this group goes through to get the chicken back. A contemporary film I found that shares similarities to the Cinema Novo aesthetic is Elite Squad (José Padilha, 2008). This film focuses on the relationship between the police and drug dealers in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. The film sheds light on the violence that occurs in such poverty-stricken areas and the corruption of police forces. In the clip below, we can see the use of location shooting and the dim natural lighting to set the mood of the scene. The narrator also discusses a bit on how the corrupt cops negotiate with drug dealers so there is a “balance”.





Then opening scene of City of God is really artistic and creative in their way of storytelling before the film even begins. It uses the importance of the chicken in a way that makes the chicken sort of a vital portion of the film. The chaos and intensity of catching the chicken gives the chicken power. The camera also shows POV of the chicken while it’s on the run which identifies the pressure and feelings of this chicken against everyone. This then goes into showing the feelings of Rocket and the pressure he’s experienced as well. This film reminds me a lot of the opening scene of Crooklyn and how although these are both contemporary films, they are both sort of coming of age as well in a storytelling kind of way. Like in City of God, In the opening scene of Crooklyn the camera shows a lot of mis en scene and the community of the film by showing how valuable the community is to the film and how every portion of the setting is key in connecting with the films narratives. Kids playing, people working, poor neighborhoods, chaos and overall culture. Just how City of God is shaped around Rockets POV, Crooklyn is shaped around Troy’s POV as well.
Both of these films show how little things hold so much value to these communities.




This question is interesting and can be approached from several different angles. It’s difficult to separate referential treatment from pure appropriation. This is something that modern culture is still struggling to directly diagnose. In my opinion, this is a case of reverence and respect for Hiroshima (1959), because the similarities are so blatant that this could not simply be a situation of “I like this scene, so I’ll throw it into my film.” It’s an homage to the themes of Hiroshima (1959), issues of time, memory, massive trauma that stretches beyond the individual and into the collective realm. Both films begin with two people experiencing an intimate moment, but there are a few differences. The cinematic techniques like close-ups were utilized slightly differently; in Bare no Sorest (1969) we’re given a more thematic introduction to the characters because there is a lack of voice over that dominates the scene, and the camera feels like the main cinematic tool being utilized to present the scene. We actually see their faces; we’re presented with more. I wonder if this is because this film is presented this way to indoctrinate more of a sense of realism right from the beginning, which plays well into the themes of false reality and interpretation of events being real or not.




City of God’s opening sequence was a great representation of how the character, Rocket, finds himself always caught at a crossroad with both ways leading to the same outcome. They represent this by showing how the chicken runs away from getting cooked, but then finds itself in the middle of a possible shoot out. The scene ultimately includes a lot of handheld camera movement with the use of natural lighting. One way that this opening sequence reappropriated Rocha’s “the aesthetics of hunger” by showing how the street gang of young men have to cook a live chicken for their food, so much so that when one tries to get away, they are determined to chase it. Another way would be how we see how Rocket seems to experience some disconnect with the environments he finds himself in and is seeking the understanding of his identity. The film also assimilates Cinema Novo by showing the showdown that happens between the street gang and the police. The fact that the police don’t tell Rocket to move out the way can also show they might think he’s also part of their gang.
A contemporary film that could be in conversation with Cinema Novo would be Judas and The Black Messiah for its focus on racial inequality and the power dynamic that existed. In this scene, you not only see a shootout happen between 2 Black Panthers, but also the treatment the 2 get after surrendering.


Post 5:



After watching the opening scene of City of Gods, I really enjoyed the fast past chase scene that got more and more intense as the Chicken was escaping just slightly from their grasp. It almost gave this sense of how little this chicken was watching other chickens being cut and cooked right in front of him. After the chicken was trapped between the boys with guns and the cops, the scenery changes and it feels this sense of scared over the boys needing to defend themselves against the cops. The Camera angles do a really great job of showing how dramatic Katia Lund and Fernando Meirelles aesthetics of hunger are, as these boys are more so driven to catch this chicken no matter what, enjoying the chase and even pulling out guns to make it entertaining for both the audience and the characters. Almost has us distracted by the environment and other people’s lives that are just barely out of notice, but when you do pay attention, you get this feeling of struggle and poor culture. Showing us how small the world is and how theirs always a bigger fish.

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