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in which upward mobility comes from criminal behavior. Because parents are largely absent, adults do not possess the answers as to how these kids will grow, so peer groups substitute for parents, and these groups, for the most part, govern themselves. Meirelles does explicitly investigate how the desire for power affects these kids as part of his broader social psychological quest to understand why young males are preoccupied with violence. His depiction, though, subverts traditional conventions. Ordinarily, audiences approach fictive narratives by suspending their disbelief. Meirelles, like many postmodern artists, disrupts this willful suspension by drawing explicit attention to his techniques, so his audience can understand how his artistic choices, such as cuts, dissolves, and pans (much credit should go to the talented editor, Daniel Rezende, as well) are as much a part of the narrative as the characters, settings and conflicts. For Meirelles, this focus on style and technique functions as another means of exploring his subject, and if we accept the premise that an artist frames his subject by his directorial choices, then we can accept that a filmmaker uses these choices to make of liberation aesthetics that sheds

arguments about his subject.

light on serious social matters. No doubt, Meirelles’ pedagogy is based on a strong impulse and conviction that life can persevere even amid the most painful, shocking circumstances. Because most of us cannot immerse ourselves in the favelas, Meirelles wants us to study the film’s most painful features and try to understand the characters’ experiences. For instance, these youths yearn for power in a world

Director Fernando Meirelles asserts that life can persevere even amid the most difficult circumstances. Though all films play with temporality and spatiality, City of God alters chronology in order to illustrate the cycles of violence. In this sense, Meirelles never lets us forget that, amid the horrors and executions we are 113

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