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City of Men

Year: 2007
Production Co: Fox Films do Brasil
Director: Paulo Morelli
Producer: Paulo Morelli/Fernando Meirelles
Writer: Paulo Morelli
It would be very hard to top Fernando Meirelles' blistering City of God, and in a world where that film didn't exist City of Men would stand much more on its own two feet. As it is, it seems a little too much like a cheap knock-off of the 2002 powerhouse of crime, poverty and growing up in the favelas around Rio de Janeiro.

In the middle of a drug war about to erupt across neighbouring favelas, best friends Acerola and Laranjinha find themselves in the middle of it all, at the same time learning about the dark pasts of their respective families. While Laranjinha struggles to find and connect with the father he's never known, Acerola tries to sort his own life out, himself a father and provider to his girlfriend.

While the two boys fall deeper into the tension and bloodlust building, their friendship will be put to the test and they'll to learn to forgive each other and move on or end up in the same hail of bullets so many of their friends are seeming to.

It has the same rough-hewn power of City of God, the same nihilistic violence and sense of both doom and hope and the same multi-stranded plot with a host of characters, but it's ironically to close in spirit, plot and approach to the original to stand apart enough.

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