Question 1: a) Throughout the film we see Lil’ Dice evolve into Lil’ Ze. Lil’ Dice turned into Lil’ Ze when he became a man, and when he became in control of the drug scene in the slums. Lil’ Dice was just a child and did not know any better, He was influenced by all the horrible things that were happening around him while he was young. Changing his name to Lil’ Ze was a way to show his man hood and too grow up. Also so show a form of power to others, as if he could do as he pleases. Lil’ Ze became a monster due to his environment. Any child how is introduced to this type of violence at a young age could potentially react in the way that he did. Growing up, the people who he looked up too were hoods, and therefore that’s what he aspired to be. He tried to be better than them. He wanted to be the best and that’s how he became such a heartless killer.
b) Tiny was portrayed as a very powerful man. He is someone people do not want to mess around with. What he says goes. In the excerpt, Tiny said “if anyone was still dealing in the area, he was ordering them to stop.”(Pg.429,p2) In this quote he is using his power to get what he wants and to start his business again. Tiny also showed no weaknesses, he showed everyone else that he wasn’t afraid of anything. Even the other gangs in the slums. In the excerpt, Tiny’s death was portrayed very differently in the excerpt than the film. Tiny was killed by other blocks gangs where as in the film, Lil’ Ze was killed by the Runts. Tiny’s demise was due to what was going on in the slums and the conflict between drug gangs. Whereas Lil’ Ze was killed by runts who had guns. The endings also differed because Lil’ Ze had been arrested where as Tiny hadn’t been.
c) The film ends with the Runts killing Lil’ Ze because it shows that Lil’Ze was no longer in power and he was looked down upon by those who wanted to be him. His reign was over. This shows that the future of Favela will be filled with violence, and will only get worse in the future. Since the runts grew up in this society, they never really had a chance to avoid this lifestyle. It’s also hard to live a crooked society and get money in a proper way. Personally I have sympathy for the runts because they have to rob and steal in order to survive. They also were introduce to so many drugs, whereas Lil’ Dice was only introduced to stealing. The runts were introduced to killing, drugs, and stealing. Therefore they had no choice but to follow this path.
d) The film does not glamorize the gangster lifestyle. In the typical gangster movies, people are rich and cheating the rich. They are not in a situation of poverty or struggle. They normally come from wealthy families and big cities. Whereas in City of God they are stuck in the slums and the only way to get out is violence. The only way to be rich is to drug deal. Therefore this movie doesn’t glamorize the gangster lifestyle because they are not in a good situation.
Question 2: a) The reasons for joining the gang and being a leader for Knockout Ned and for Lil’ Ze are very different. Lil’ Ze grew into it, whereas Knockout Ned chose to join for revenge against Lil’ Ze. Knockout Neds reasons for joining did make it more acceptable, but then it turned him into a hood, and poisoned his mind, and he became just as bad as Lil’ Ze.
b) Antunes has a major role in Knockout Ned’s gang life. When Antunes is killed, Knockout Ned sets his killers houses on fire and seeks for revenge; this causes the gang war to get bigger and more personal. Antunes was also involved in the warfare at the beginning, and therefore Knockout Ned had more reason to be involved.
c) Benny and Knockout Ned are role models in their group for many reasons. Benny was smart, kind, spontaneous, and a leader. He always listened and did the right thing. He also gained a lot of respect for standing up for others and for influencing Lil’ Ze. He was the peace keeper between all the gangs. Ned however, was a leader because Lil’ Ze was after him and he joined forces with a gang. He was the one Lil’ Ze set his mind on, and therefore to have revenge, Ned took control of Lil’ Ze’s rival gang. Benny and Ned both treat their women and families properly and liked to be loved by others. They are genuinely kind hearted people. They don’t like to kill, they like to create peace.
d) I feel more compassion for Benny because, after being in all this violence, he wanted to escape and leave with his girl. Then he got accidentally shot and he died. Benny didn’t like all the violence, he want to leave and go away to relax and live. I feel bad that his life ended due to an accident. I believe that he was a truly kind person at heart. Whereas Ned started out as a good person and slowly became poisoned with violence. I believed Lil’ Ze liked Benny because Benny was a brother to him. But Lil’ Ze was jealous of Ned and therefore hated him.
Question 3: a) The film makes chose Rocket to narrate the film because although he was not involved in the violence, he was a part of it all. He lived with them and was not sucked into all the drugs and violence. He kept his mind on his dreams and did not corrupt himself. Rocket showed the potential that people in that society can have. If it had been viewed under Lil’ Ze’s point of view, the gangs would not be equal, the other group would have been the enemies. And the film would have had much more violence and no potential to show a way out of the slums.
b) Rocket never becomes a victim of the slums because deep down he knew he wanted to be a photographer, he had dreams that he could reach. He also gained knowledge from the death of his brother to not get involved in the gangs. He would ultimately get killed if he joined. I think he has a good head on his shoulders because he was educated. He was not a lucky exception, anyone could have done what he did, but they didn’t and they joined in on the crowd.
c) Photography saved his life, if he didn’t love photography, maybe he would have joined the gang. He followed his dreams and did not give up on them. He also ended up getting a good job out of taking pictures of the gang and Lil’ Ze. I believe he only gave the pictures of Lil’ Ze dead and not the cops because he didn’t want the cops to be on his bad side. I believe it was the right thing to do to stay alive in the slums.
d) The factors that cause the cycle to keep going is that poverty cause people to do unthinkable things such as robbing and killing for a living. Therefore when kids are introduced to it at a young age, it becomes a normal thing for them and they show no mercy to embrace the violent side. The government plays a big role in this vicious cycle because they do not help or support the City of God. They only send more poor and homeless people to this city. They also do not enforce any proper laws to stop the violence. All they have is corrupted police. So the film blames the government for all theses problems.
Courtney from Study Moose
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