City of God (2002)—Brazilian
Rich people who travel to Rio de Janeiro think of it as paradise. Poor people who actually live there in its worst slum called the "City of God," built by the government to isolate them from the rich tourists in the city center, can tell you it is more like a precinct of hell. Shot on location in a nearby neighborhood (the actual slum was deemed too dangerous), and incorporating characters who actually live in the "City of God," this film chronicles daily life in one of the world's worst slums. It is a world of pitiless violence, grinding poverty, remorseless revenge, and a complex hierarchy of drug lords. The film is narrated by one of the few people to escape this vortex of anarchy, one "Rocket" who aspires to be a photographer, and is based upon Paulo Lins's novel of the same name (Ciudad De Dios). At 135 minutes, I found the film a little long, but I also hasten to add that I think it deserves the uniformly superlative reviews that it has received. In Portuguese with English subtitles.