was a big deal in Brazil when Fernando Meirelles was nominated for best
director, but Katia Lund never got her Oscar props, because the Academy has
issues with the “co-director” credit. However, this is strictly a management controversy.
It is the hopes and unrealized dreams of the favela kids who appeared in their
art-house smash that concern Cavi Borges & Luciano Vidigal, who document
fates of the cast’s winners and losers in City
of God—10 Years Later (trailer here), which screens during the 2014 Brazilian Film Festival in New York.
of the nonprofessionals who appeared in City
of God hoped it would be their golden ticket out of the favela. Not
surprisingly, they were not particularly sophisticated when it came to
negotiating back-end deals, but they did not have a lot of leverage in the
process. Clearly, Meirelles did quite well for himself, but not a lot of the
money trickled down. Hollywood would certainly approve.
the television series and subsequent follow-up film, both titled City of Men provided steady work for
many ensemble players. Nonetheless, Borges & Vidigal clearly suggest there
is something rather arbitrary about the distribution of post-release success. Of
course, it is pretty clear why Alice Braga advanced to a Hollywood career in
films like I Am Legend, despite her
limited screen time. Yet, it is harder to explain why some cast-members caught
on and others did not.
nothing else, 10 Years certainly
re-establishes life is not fair. They bring this point home dramatically when
they capture the reunion between Seu Jorge and the “kid who was shot in the
foot,” who now works as a bellhop in the luxury hotel the actor-singer often
patronizes. Ironically, he was offered a fair amount of work as a child actor
during the immediate aftermath of City,
but dropped out of the business due to family issues.
Braga and Seu Jorge are each featured in their own segments, the absence of
Lund and particularly Meirelles is conspicuous. Whether it is just or not,
viewers are left with the impression he was something of an exploiter, but that
gives 10 Years an edge and a point-of-view.
As a result, it is hard to dismiss the film as a mere “DVD extra.”
As a sobering look behind the scenes of the
Brazilian film industry, 10 Years demonstrates
how good intentions can sometimes lead to unrealistic expectations. Even so, there
is no question it will resonate more deeply with viewers who have substantially
invested in the franchise. Surprisingly pointed but still not essential for
general audiences, City of God—10 Years
Later screens this coming Wednesday (6/4) and Friday (6/6) as part of this
year’s Brazilian Film Festival in New York at the Tribeca Cinemas.
Labels: BRAFF NY '14, Brazilian Cinema, City of Men, Documentary