At this point, I will watch any film that takes place in the Brazilian favelas, as long as Fernando Meirelles is involved. And I imagine that a lot of my peers would feel the same, if they would only see his latest, City of Men. After all, this is the man who in 2002 gave us City of God, which I've determined to be the second most popular contemporary foreign-language film for people of my generation (Amelie being the first). The film also thrust Meirelles into international acclaim and success, including an Oscar-nomination for Best Director, yet it wasn't his first time presenting a riveting story set in the Rio shantytowns.

In 2000, Meirelles and his City of God co-director, Kátia Lund, made a short film titled Palace II. It was something of a precursor to (and apparently a test-run for) City of God, and it was based on an excerpt from the same source novel, written by Paulo Lins. But narratively, it has nothing to do with the subsequent feature film. Palace II is actually set in the present -- City of God takes place in the '80s -- and follows two young friends, Wallace (nickname: "Laranjinha") and Luis Claudio (nickname: "Acerola"), who live in poverty in the favela.
categories Reviews, Cinematical