City of God the book written by Paulo Lins was adapted and turned into a harrowing tale about the harsh realities of childhood and crime in Rio De Janeiro. The Director Fernando Ferreira Meirelles grew up in a middle class family and studied Architecture in Sao Paulo, so he couldn’t be further removed from the gritty reality depicted in this overwhelming crime drama, thats why he brought in Katia Lund to assist as co-director. The choice to use mostly unknown actors added to the realism of slum life and brought spontaneity to the film. Improvisation, and strong emotional connection was important to portraying the definitive and often brutal choices characters were supposed to make. The film wasn’t shot in the real city of God because it was too dangerous due to the ongoing drug war. It’s a movie about hope, passion, violence and consequences, told in Scorsese-esque style and one which will stay with you for a long time after watching.
Producer and Director of Blood diamond Edward Zwick has worked on a number of epic action packed movies such as Legends of the fall, glory, traffic and the Last Samurai. He also executively produces the new Nat Turner movie, birth of a nation. Thoughtful concepts, excellent visionary materialisation and compelling writing have made the projects he has been involved in successful and meaningful. This is a name that we should look out for in the future as I’m sure he’ll have another awe inspiring production coming soon.
12 Years a Slave & Django Unchained are Oscar winners, but which did you prefer?
I preferred Django Unchained to 12 years a slave, no contest. I’m one of those people who doesn’t think many films made in Hollywood deserve much intellectual merit. The depiction of slavery was accurate yes, and I’ve read enough about slavery to grasp that. Roots, Confessions of Nat Turner, and Beloved are all good reads. But to hear Nigger…this and Nigger that, watch horrid torturous scenes, seeing little black children treated like animals, (and once again), black women raped was demoralising. I kept imagining it was me getting whipped, beaten, shackled and spat on and it was a surreal feeling. Thanks Steve McQueen, your doing a wonderful job representing your own race.