The focus on favelas in Brazilian film has increased mostly because of the success of City of God, but here is a list of movies dealing with favelas. Most of the stereo-types and negative imagery comes from these films. The violence aspect of favelas has seem to become a commodity for braziian cinema. I love these films, but I think it doesn’t truly portray life in the favela, it takes a negative aspect and blows it out of proportion.
City of God is ranked #16 best movie of all time on imdb.com. City of God is a very violent, but well done film. City of God has given rise to much interest into favelas, and is a must see. Although the film is based on a true story, just like every film, there is exageration and favelas are not like this. But, again, I must admit this is my favorite film of all time, yeah I’m biased, so..?
City of Men is not a sequel to City of God but a feature version of City of Men the television series which the pilot of this series inspired the making of City of God.
The Elite Squad arrived to Brazilian cinemas with much anticipation. This was the a response to City of God which told the story of the favelados. The Elite Squad told the story of BOPE, Brazil’s special police force. This movie is not as good as City of God but definitely worth a watch, but what movie can be as good as COG?
Once Upon a Time in Rio, is like a Brazilian Romeo and Juliet. I really liked this movie because it shows the reality of the conflict between the asphaltos and the favelados. It was also cool to have a love story, not just about violence, even though it was violent as well, of course it’s about the favela, right? Yeah… waiting for a favela movie without violence. City of Men the tv series is a good because not all of the episodes are about violence, but it shows the humanity and the community spirit in the favela.
Bus 174 is a documentary about a favelado who held up a bus in Rio. The documentary is good, and there is also a feature film about the story as well.
Last Stop 174 is the feature version of Bus 174. You’ll notice it’s different from the documentary, but it’s a good story, and a good film.
Besouro, Ok this film is not directly about the favelas, but looks really cool! The main character is a capoerista which is a dance/fighting style that originated with the black slaves from northeast Brazil. Blacks were one of the main groups that migrated to the big cities like Rio and Sao Paulo and began to form the favelas, so it does relate. Also in the favelas there are often capoeira classes for the community.
Black Orpheus is a Brazilian classic and it shows life in the favela at a different time and kind of romanticizes life there, which I feel is a good representation of the favela because there is always music and dancing, just the music and dance is a tad-bit different now, lol.