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The North American posterior City of God places more emphasis on Angelica (Alice Braga) and Rocket (Alexandre Rodrigues).

the chicken is the character Knockout Ned (Mané Galinha in Portuguese), suggesting that he is a ''dead chicken'' [galinha morta],19 meaning an inexpressive, mediocre person.

In City of God, the narrative is characterized by its circularity, expressed in the recurrence of dangerous and unsafe situations to which the characters are exposed in the slums. Few scenes take place outside the slums, and of these, most are indoor scenes, giving an idea of the boundaries imposed on the characters by the lack of perspective. Among the techniques used in the movie that suggest such an effect, we can point out the initial sequence, repeated at the end of the movie, in which the camera moves through scenes clockwise and back to a starting point; the use of flashbacks; the introduction of characters that will become part of the plot only later, making the spectator go back in time within the story to identify them. These are movements that go back to a starting point in a journey that repeats itself like the movement of a boomerang.

These techniques, emphasized by the use of just one narrative point of view—Rocket's—begin and end the story. It is through his point of view that other stories are introduced. Even using stop motion and divided screens in many moments and showing incidents from the perspective of other characters, it is Rocket who tells the story. After all, Rocket grew up in the slums and, like most of the young people of his generation, found himself divided between a life of poverty, resignation, and social exclusion, on the one hand, and the violent criminal life led by most of his childhood friends, on the other. Refusing to accept these two options, he tries to break the cycle of poverty and violence in which he grew up and to change his destiny through photography.

The death of his brother, Goose, when Rocket was still very young, influences his decision to look for an alternative in his life. His first contact with photography happens during a news report about a homicide in the slums. In that moment, Rocket notices that it is possible to look at life from a perspective different from that of a victim or a villain. However, in order to do this, he must break his link with the vicious circle of the slums, an environment in which the only two options are those previously discussed and one that, ironically, Rocket will manage to expose, but not to change. When he chooses not to show a picture of a policeman being bribed by a drug dealer, Rocket makes a movement in two directions: he manages to leave the slums, but he does not manage to reach the safety he desires and to outline the spaces of order and disorder, of law and crime. His life is still menaced by other powers whose limits do not lie within the space of the slums.

In the stories of his childhood friends that have become drug dealers, such as Little Ze, Benny, Carrot, and Knockout Ned, the link that unites the characters is the association between social respect in adult life and the exertion of physical violence and crime as forms of power and survival. An example of this link is the dialogue with Steak and Fries, a boy that tries to convince the drug dealers that he can be part of the gang: ''I smoke, I sniff, I have already killed, I have already robbed, brother . . . I'm a good man.'' Or in the previously mentioned scene when Little Ze puts a gun in a child's hand and tells him to shoot the smaller children to prove whether he is able to be part of the gang. It is a kind of initiation ritual not only into crime, but also into a new phase in life in which the passport is the substitution of a real gun for a toy gun.

The moment that marks the transition from childhood to adult life for the main characters is the conquest of the first drug-dealing point by Little Zé. He refuses to be called by his childhood nickname, Little Dice, and chooses the new nickname by which he will be called from that moment on, Little Zé. His coming-of-age is represented by increasingly violent scenes. His aging process and his power are represented by a sequence of scenes portraying slaughters that he leads. Present as a highlight in the movie trailer, these scenes also mark the turning point in the history of the slums, when a new generation of criminals takes control of the drug traffic and reorganizes it using corporate techniques. Power and money become mixed, and unlimited violence becomes the means to attain them.

As the violence and the power of drug trafficking increase, an evergrowing number of children feel attracted to it.

child 1: The business is drugs, you know? child 2: If you want to be a dealer, you have to start as a mule. child 1: This mule story is bullshit. It takes too long to win the confidence of the bosses and work your way up to management.

child 2: How are you gonna do? You gotta wait until they die . . . child 1: I'm out of it! You gotta do as Little Zé did. You gotta leave everyone behind and that's it!

This power of life and death is not only exerted over the rest of the slum's population, but is also the condition for survival of the drug dealers themselves. The money made with the trafficking and the exertion of violence allows Little Zé to keep his leadership and to survive the corrupt police officers. Although the motives for these actions are different, the trait that unites the characters involved in drug trafficking is the fact that they choose crime while still in their childhood years. The exception is the character of Knockout Ned, who becomes a criminal during his adult life because of honor and not power. After witnessing his fiancée being raped by Little Zé, Knockout Ned looks for revenge, associating himself with a rival gang.

This episode allows us to see two important aspects. On one hand, the absence of any state-sponsored system of justice in the slums, which is why Knockout Ned seeks his own. On the other hand, the immaturity of Little Zé, who demonstrates difficulty relating to the opposite sex. He may appear victorious in his first drug deal through the force of his gun and his use of fear, winning the respect of the other inhabitants of the slums, yet the same guns are not enough to secure him his affective and sexual coming-of-age. Such sexual immaturity becomes a strong feature of all the characters and is the element that reminds us of how young they really are.

Social and emotional maturity is out of synch for Rocket too. He feels an ongoing platonic love for Angelica, a white middle-class teenage girl he will never be able to reach, just like the safety and the freedom outside the slums. Rocket will manage to have his first sexual experience only when, believing that his life is at risk, he spends the night out of the slums, in the apartment of a journalist who publishes (without his consent) the picture of Little Zé he had taken. Sexuality for the young people in the movie is always associated with dangerous situations. Goose dies by the hands of his lover's husband, Little Zé relates to the opposite sex only by force, Knockout Ned witnesses his fiancée's rape, Rocket has his first sexual experience only when he thinks his life is at risk. The only character who is affectively and sexually mature in relation to his age is Benny, who dies before he can fulfill his adult life dreams.

Finally, the lack of alternatives is represented by an almost total lack of reference to spaces outside the slums. When shown, these spaces are indoor sets.20 Critics interpreted this as an attempt to limit to the scope of the slums: the causes and effects of the violence caused by the drug traffic.211 analyze the absence of outdoor scenes and open spaces, which becomes more evident throughout the movie, as a representation of the limits imposed on the development of these youngsters by the growing violence around them. Their perspectives are limited by insecurity and fear and are represented by indoor sets and by the verticalization of the slums. At the same time that the violence increases, the shots become more closed and the experiences of the youngsters are left at the mercy of the powers at war. Forced to live with a reality that is very far from the bourgeois ideal of a naïve childhood and an adolescence full of discoveries, the movie shows young people who grow up having to strike a balance between the doubts and uncertainties of their age and an environment that asks them to make daily vital decisions, an environment in which the verbs ''to live'' and ''to survive'' are mixed up, an environment that shocks the spectators, who, after leaving the theaters, have to face those images in the streets and corners of their cities and towns.

Young people have to adapt to blurred boundaries, with their wings as mere ornaments, as is the case with chickens, who cannot fly as high as birds and see the world from other angles. Just like the chickens, they have lost their ability to fly away from their predators and have adapted to the routine of domestic life, waiting for their fate to be accomplished. They learn to live with predatory powers, whose orders and disorders do not follow any logical path or set of rules that may allow them to take a flight higher than that of daily survival. As little children they already learn that ''if you run, the beast will get you; if you stay put, the beast will eat you.''

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