City of God <br />(2002, Fernando Meirelles)<br />Revision Booklet<br />Contents:<br />Representation<br />Key scenes<br />Narrative<br />Power & Conflict<br />INITIAL IDEAS:<br />The study of World Cinema is, more often than not, a study of national cinemas, and the different cultural identities that these reflect. <br />What cultural identities have been reflected in City of God. Can this film be classified as national rather than world?<br />Film is a significant contributor in the construction of national identity for both the home and the Foreign audience. <br />How has City of God contributed to the construction of national identity?<br />Character Representations<br />Character What they represent Why is this?Rocket Little Ze Bene Knockout Ned<br />KEY SCENES<br />Close Study Analysis<br />Try to make notes on the following scenes:<br />Opening Credits (50 seconds)<br />Playing Football (4:08)<br />Stealing Gas (5:46)<br />Considering a robbery (9:35)<br />How are the different intentions of the Tender Trio and Lil Dice apparent?<br />Getting Promoted (43:56)<br />Being in Charge (56:20)<br />How has the City of God changed when compared to the start of the film when the characters were younger?<br />Making Choices (1:01:06)<br />Knockout Ned’s Story (1:25:31)<br />Resolve to the conflict (1:54:03)<br />Narrative in City of God<br />The Three Stories <br />Below are the 3 stages that are presented to us in City of God. Try to summarise what happens within these stages:<br />The Story of the Tender Trio<br />The Story of Little Ze and drugs<br />The Story of Knockout Ned<br /> <br />
Try to write as much as possible about the following points:
What is Power in this film?
Who has the Power?
What happens when you have no Power?
Can you gain Power if you have none?
Conflict<br />What conflict is in the film?<br />Approaching the exam:<br />URBAN STORIES – POWER, POVERTY & CONFLICT<br />There will be four different sections in Part A of the exam but you can ignore three of them, you only have to answer one question and it’s the one on Urban Stories. There will be two questions and you need to choose and answer one of them.<br />Whilst I obviously don’t know, and won’t see the paper before you do, I think it is likely the question will be something along the lines of one of the following:-<br />* How important is *insert micro aspect here* in the films you have studied? (Sound, Mise en Scene, Editing …)<br />* How is poverty / power / conflict represented cinematically in your films?<br />* Discuss the uses of narrative / genre in the films you have studied<br />All of the usual rules about exam answers are important here, and I will go through them in detail on this post and then direct you back here when I write about the other two sections.<br />These are the key features of good exam essays:-<br />* You need to write an organised answer, with an introduction, three or four paragraphs in the main part of the essay, and a conclusion.<br />* Your introduction should tell the examiner what films you are going to be writing about and what you’re going to say in your three or four paragraphs. (Tell them what you’re going to tell them)<br />* The main body of your essay will be three or four paragraphs, each about a different issue which is common to all of your films (or at least is common to the two main films and allows you to say something about the third). A more detailed example will follow below this outline.<br />* You are going to talk about both of your main films in each paragraph, and mention Tsotsi along with anything else you think is relevant. You are not going to write half an essay about Tsotsi and half an essay about City of God with the odd mention of other things.<br />* You are going to analyse and not describe – although some detailed description of sections of the films will be there as evidence in support of your analysis.<br />* Discuss the evidence that you do select in detail. Quote cinematically from the films – you get marks for selecting relevant material and describing it accurately and in detail as evidence to support your analytical points.<br />* Use technical language accurately – write about close ups and long shots, camera pans and tilts, diegetic sound and iconography. A good plan is to proof read your work at the end of the exam with a focus on technical language – have you used the right word there? Is there a technical term that would fit in that sentence?<br />* Your conclusion should say more than ‘that was the question and I answered it’. Say what you think your most interesting or important point was and explain why, or say what questions you would consider if you were to take this work further, or what other films would be interesting to compare these to in an expanded study, and why.<br />* Use Amores Perros as a supplementary film t refer to.<br />Narrative example<br />So, for example, if you have a question about Narrative, you could have your main paragaraphs about…<br />1. Narrative time –15-20 years in City of God (and the changing Mise en Scene as the favela develops, and the aging of the characters, and the movement from dope to cocaine)… and the middle ground of Tsotsi, which plays out over a week or so (the beating and recovery of Boston, the needs of the baby, the recovery of the mother).<br />2. Narrative shape –Disrupted narrative in City of God – a good chance to write about the narrative loops in the story of the apartment / the story of Lil’ Ze. Tsotsi is much more melodramatic – it’s more clearly about how TsoTsi himself makes an emotional journey of character development.<br />3. Narrative space – Here there is more in common between the films – we have different country’s versions of ‘the slums’ – the favela in Brazil, the township in South Africa. European poverty is different to ‘third world’ poverty and you can look at how that is shown. There are other key things in common - a good chance to write about mise en scene.<br />4. Characters and themes – can you match up similar character types from the different films? Lil’Zi and Tsosti? Are there obvious ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ in the different films? How do we know? (Iconography? Music? Mise en Scene of costumes?) How is ‘everyday life’ in the slums represented as opposed to the lives lived by the main characters? How wide a range of significant characters do we have and how many of them have any real narrative significance? How many characters have significant if short narrative threads in City of God? How important is anyone other than Tsotsi in Tsotsi?<br />Whatever you say about each film you illustrate it with a cinematic detail – something about the mise en scene, about how a short sequence is shot and edited, about the use of music.<br />If you write an organised answer, which analyses the films, quotes cinematic detail as evidence and used technical language accurately, the examiner will start you off at a ‘C’ and move you up depending how consistent your answer is in doing these things.<br />What representations of power, poverty and conflict are there in the films you have studied?<br />(This is a general question deliberately chosen because the exam board do like using the keywords from the topic but it allows you to cover core issues that apply to all of the films).<br />In the exam you will write about all three films (although concentrate on Tsotsi and City of God), and you will make sure that in each paragraph of your answer you write about all three films.<br />Remember to focus on more than the literal – in what ways does the film deal with these issues in different literal and metaphorical ways? For example the institutional power of the police, the physical power of Tsotsi, the economic power of the baby’s parents, the nurturing power of Miriam…<br />The ‘big’ point of this work is to find and record cinematic detail from the film – how the use of particular shots, or particular editing techniques, or the particular use of sound, are used in the film to create meaning for the audience.<br />The mark scheme isn’t published until after the examinations and can differ a little each year but in general terms the important information is…<br />Grade C – Sound knowledge and understanding of the films. Some ability to make points supported by evidence although work may be overly prescriptive. Some use of technical vocabulary and a reasonably well structured answer.<br />Grade B – Good knowledge and understanding of the films, clear points of view developed with helpful use of technical vocabulary. Fluent, well structured writing.<br />Grade A – Excellent knowledge and confident understanding. Points of view developed effectively with excellent use of technical vocabulary. Sophisticated, fluent and well structured writing.<br />