City of God Film, Movie Review Example

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Movie Review

In situations or cultures that utilize high context communication, the use of single words or phrases can communicate much more than in cultures that use low context communication. Within low context communication, conversations must be more explicit detailed and meaningful. This contrast can be seen in the film “City of God” on many occasions. One main example can be seen in the apartment scene when Lil Dice says, “my name is Lil Z now,” or when Blacky tells Lil Dice that he is being disrespectful in his apartment and Lil Dice informs Blacky that it’s no longer his apartment. The reason this is a form of high context communication is because prior to this conversation between the two characters, Rocket had already detailed the history of the apartment within the “City of God” community. Within a specific cultural context, the apartment and Lil Dice’s name change are very symbolic and hold deep meaning. On Lil Dice’s 18th birthday he goes to see a shaman who renames him Lil Z’. The exact high context dialogue between the two happens as such, Blacky says “Lil Dice, you enter my apartment like this?” Lil Dice says “Who says this is your apartment I am Lil Z now” and then raises his gone to kill Blacky and then Benny says, “Don’t kill him.  He understands (City of God, n.p.).” Within the context of this dialogue is cultural understanding shared between all of the characters of the meaning of the name change and the meaning of Lil Z questioning or challenging Blacky’s ownership of the apartment. The context of the dialogue is such a high context that Rocket must tell two back stories before the interaction can be revealed to the audience. He tells the back story of the apartment and the back story of how Lil Dice became Lil Z.

Ethnocentrism is the belief in the superiority of one’s culture, or viewing all cultures from the perspective of one’s own cultural beliefs. The ideology of ethnocentrism can be seen implemented in “City of God” through the narration. Within the narration both world view and ethnocentrism are displayed. Worldview is a particular philosophy of life or conception of the world. In regards to ethnocentrism, verbal expression of racial pride in the dialogue of “City of God” is not a good example because Brazil is more diverse racially than most regions of the world so race is rarely mentioned, but class does play a major role in defining the residence of The City of God. Not all of the characters would be traditionally considered black, but many are people of color and there are even a few white characters, so ethnocentrism is defined by how they choose to dress, or the specific cultural beliefs they hold. In what scene titled “Benny’s Farewell,” Rocket outlines all of these social groups within The City of God as he says, the gangs, the soul crowd, the samba crowd, the church crowd and the groovy crowd were all present at Benny’s farewell party. Even within the gangs, there is the class distinction of workers, managers, killers, and vapors. Rocket defines his choice of working a regular job as being a ‘sucker.’ The contrast between the life of the sucker and the life of the gangster is what defines the world view. This can be seen when Knockout Ned is first introduced as a character and he tries to talk Rocket into getting out of The City of God and getting a stable job. The contrast of World view in the film is also most clear when Knockout Ned talks a little boy who had joined Lil Z’s gang and he asks him why he doesn’t do better with his life and the little kid says, “ I have smoked, I have snorted, I have killed, I am a man (City of God, n.p.).” These key scenes show the key difference in world view between the people who live in the City of God and those who live outside the city.

Work Cited

City of God.  Dir. John Smith. Columbia, 2002. Film. Retrievedvfrom http://viooz.co/movies/311-city-of-god-2002.html

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