The Scrambler
an e-zine dedicated to literature and the arts
DVD Review: Cidade Dos Homens (City of Men)
What: 19 episodes written and directed by
Fernando Meirelles, Katia Lund, Paulo Lins and
many others for TV Globo. It was originally aired as
a television series in Brazil during 2003-2006.

I watched the DVD version released in the USA
that is in Portuguese but with English subtitles. For
those who have seen Meirelles' and Lund's
adaptation of Lins' book Cidade de Deus (City of
God), this is not just the same old story. Yes, it
takes place in a favela (slum) in Rio de Janiero,
and yes the drug dealers/gansters do play a
significant role in this series. Since this is the
favela, there are always choices that have to be
made and situations that have to be dealt with that
are unique to the Brazilian environment. Should the
young men get legitimate jobs and make just
enough to scrape by? Or should they join the drug
dealers and get rich quick, but probably end up
dead before they turn 18? Although the drug
dealers are always at least somewhere in the
background, they are not necessarily the main
focus of this series. Rather it is on 2 Brazilian young
men known as Acerola (Douglas Silva) and
Laranjinha (Darlan Cunha). In many ways, any male
can relate to their stories. Acerola and Laranjinha
chase girls, hang out and generally get in a little
mischief. Most of the episodes focus on events
such as dances, taking a trip to a far away place (in
this case it is to Brasilia, the national capitol so that
they can meet Lula, Brazil's President) and having
fun over summer vacation with new friends. In one
memorable episode, Acerola gets his girlfriend
pregnant. Throughout the remaining episodes he
and his wife struggle to raise a child as 16 and 17
year olds. This series also explores the stereotypes
and shows actual situations and interactions within
the rigid Brazilian class society.

I highly recommend this series to any and everyone.
It is filled with humorous and caring stories that
definitely educate and entertain but at the same
time are realistic representations of life in a
Brazilian favela.       
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