The Character of Rocket From City of God, Movie Review Example

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Movie Review

In his classic book “The Principles of Psychology,” William James describes the different components that make up the concept of “self”: the material self; the social self, and the spiritual self.  The material self begins with the physical self of the body, but it is not just the body that comprises the material self. Our possessions, and the way we fell about them and what they mean to us are also part of our material selves. The social self is the recognition we receive from others, and this social self is different for each person that recognizes and interacts with us. The social self a person has in relation to his or her children, for example, is different from the social self that same person has with an employer of an adult friend. The spiritual self is the subjective being. This is the inner self, or the sense of consciousness. All of these components together, the material or physical self, the self that others perceive, and the way we perceive ourselves, all combine to form the self.

In the film City of God, the central character Rocket is seen growing from a child to an adult over the course of many years. Rocket’s “self,” as defined and described by James, can be seen developing as the story progresses. A pivotal scene in the film begins as Rocket witnesses the shooting death of an older boy named Shaggy, as Shaggy is running from the police. As Rocket tells the audience, “on the day Shaggy died I remember the crowds…and a camera.” Rocket is a young boy when Shaggy is killed, but in the next scene he is an older adolescent, and he now has a camera of his own. Rocket describes himself as “the official photographer” of his social circle. In this brief scene it is possible to see both Rocket’s material and social selves on display. The camera is part of Rocket’s material self, and it is an important part of his self-identity. It is also a part of the social self that his friends see as he photographs them and their daily activities.

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