City Of God

(It's movie day here.)

Yesterday I watched "City of God," a 2002 Academy-Award nominated Brazilian film about youth gangs that took over Rio de Janeiro slums in the late 60s to mid-eighties.

I've been wanting to see this movie for a while (it's always peering out at me from a shelf in this skeevy video rental store in my 'hood), mostly because of the hype that surrounds it. Roger Ebert said it's "one of the best films you will ever see"; Time magazine placed it on their list of the 100 best films of all-time; IMDb ranked it at #19 on their top 250 films list—the acclaim goes on and on.

After watching the movie, I have to say that it lived up to the hype... kind of. I mean, I enjoyed it, but I don't know if I'd put it on my top 10 or even my top 50 list. It's a little too violent for my liking, I think.

But the violence is also what made it so good. The world that's depicted in the film is beyond me, beyond my comprehension. If you saw "Blood Diamond," it has a lot of the same shocking visuals in it (little boys holding guns, killing each other, etc.) but times a thousand.

If you rent this movie, you must watch the hour-long documentary on the DVD. It takes you inside the real slums, shows interviews with real gang members. It's unreal.

Before I go, I tried to find the slums on Google Maps (I wanted to see how close I could get; dorky, I know) and guess what I found in the picture? Here it is. Look below the arrow, to the left:


Do you see it? Here's a closer look:


And still closer:


It's a plane! A plane! (I feel like Tattoo.)

I've never seen a plane in a Google Maps search before. I thought it was really neat.