“City of God” (Original Title: Cidade de Deus), is a drama-crime movie released in 2002 that was responsible for showing the power of Brazilian cinema abroad, because of several factors: first, the movie visceral story is based on real events; second, the beautiful photography, third, the talent of the black amateur actors who were cast by the directors Fernando MeirellesKátia Lund (co-director) for two reasons: the lack of available professional black actors, and the desire for authenticity because most of them were from favelas (slums) communities in Rio de Janeiro such as City of God itself, and the last factor, it also for its thrilling soundtrack full of classic Brazilians songs but also, international hits.


The movie was an adaptation of the novel of the same name written by Paulo Lins  (who also wrote the screenplay) alongside Bráulio Mantovani, that the narrative follows Buscapé ( Alexandre Rodrigues,), a poor kid full of dreams who grows up in a favela (slum) called “City of God” and his struggles to become a photographer. The movie portrays how the organised crime grows within City of God, from its construction in the 60s until the beginning of the 80s, and it becomes the main favela in Rio and home of famous “kings of crime” like Trio Ternura and Zé Pequeno (Leandro Firmino). 

Movie Soundtrack

The mixture of fiction with real events made “City of God” conquer the Brazilian and international public and critics. The music soundtrack had huge importance to promote the movie and some Brazilian rhythms to “foreigners”. The main tracks were composed by Antonio Pinto and Ed Côrtes and bring the mix of ‘samba’, ‘funk’ and soul music. “Funk da Virada”, creation of the duo above, is an excellent example of how the song invokes the suburban soul style of City of God community. The mixture of the soul music and some samba instruments such as “cuíca”(it is a Brazilian friction drum with a large pitch range) and tambourine make an incredible sound.

In addition to the tracks written by Antonio Pinto and Ed Côrtes, other songs were selected to be part of the feature movie such as some popular Brazilians artists, for instance, the master of Brazilian soul, Tim Maia, who appears with two classics: “O Caminho do Bem” and “Azul da Cor do Mar”. Like any other film set in Rio de Janeiro, samba needs to be part of it and nothing better than Master Cartola singing “Alvorada” and “Preciso me encontrar”. The controversial musician Wilson Simonal appears with a lot of swing in “Nem Vem que Não Tem”, while Raul Seixas and Hyldon have two classics in the album, respectively, “Metamorfose Ambulante” and “Na Rua, na Chuva, na Fazenda”.

“Cidade de Deus”, however, is not just about Brazilian music. American music hits also compose the album such as “Get Up”, by James Brown, “Dance Across the Floor”, by Jimmy ‘Bo’ Horne, “Hold Back the Water” by Bachman & Turner, and “Kung Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas.

Turn up the volume and have some fun!