A2 Film Studies: Section A Power, Poverty and Conflict

These revision cards are based on the FM4 exam under the exam board WJEC. The two films are City of God and La Haine.


Section A - Power, Poverty and Conflict

2 Films

  • La Haine (Mathieu Kassovitz, 1995).
  • City of God (Fernando Mereillies and Katia Lund, 2002).

The intro in the essay should include:

  • stating the films.
  • outlining sections in essay.
  • conclusion (brief).
1 of 10

City of God: Power

  • the main social issue in the film is 'power'.
  • gaining power in the favela and drug dealing.
  • Lil Zee/Dice is obssessed with power - works his way up.
  • Lil Dice gains power from killing others e.g. killing Goose "Oh Goose Ive got something for you".
  • Lil Dice sees voodoo shamen guy who gives him a new name "Lil Zee", shows his desperation for power, necklace gives him authority.
  • the police have less power than Lil Zee as they are corrupt.
  • violence breeds more violence.
  • Lil Dice is behind the motel heist, he is shown to be a psychopath.
  • Power is the only thing that corrupts society.
  • drug gang lack responsibility, main power is selling drugs and not getting caught.
2 of 10

City of God - Poverty

  • many have few choices and chances to escape the favela.
  • only Rocket achieves this - 'poverty of opportunity'.
  • many have to resort to crime to get by in life - crime or join police.
  • not just guns and little resources contribute to poverty, but there being little social behaviour.
  • everybody has a need to belong somewhere.
  • three different shades for each decade - 60's gold tint, 70's blue tint. in order to show sinister side of city as well as reflecting poor living conditions.
  • shows the roots and effects of poverty - 60's, earlier events show freedom, 2 decades later there are darker tones as characters become more violent.
3 of 10

City of God - Conflict and Power

  • characters and people die everywhere.
  • war in the 70's and 80's - killing each other.
  • conflict is constant throughout the film.
  • Lil Dice kicking the driver of the gas truck- 'Robin Hood criminals'.
  • conflict relates to the power of Lil Dice.
  • Benny is a 'gangster' and a 'peacemaker'.
  • 60's motel heist between the poor and the rich.
  • story of apartment - drug dealers rise to power, fighting between themselves.
  • police get involved when the media interviews Knockout Ned.
4 of 10

City of God - Urban and Protagonists

  • favela acts as a place for gangs to plan and start a war.
  • favela is about gaining control and power.
  • urban = city.
  • Benny's party - different cultures together.
  • Rocket not getting involved in crime, he is rewarded by surviving and fufilling dream.
  • Benny getting caught up in an accident, when he dies peace has gone, symbolic.
  • Tiago - doesnt live in the favela, comes to get drugs.
5 of 10

City of God - Messages and Values and Micro Elemen

  • Media get involved at the end of the tender trio.
  • Residents used to runts running around.
  • Rocket works his way up by becoming a photographer - starts as delivery boy.
  • Newspaper company get Rocket to take photos of Lil Zee and his gang, in order for Lil Zee to gain publicity.
  • Lil Zee pays police to clear his name, keep him out of jail to pay.
  • Killing of Lil Zee is taken through Rocket's camera, this is echoed through the bullet holes of his body.
  • 360 shots - 3x.
  • Knockout Ned, shooting people, "exception to the rule" - transitions and linear wipe.
  • shaggy - standout shot..
  • transition to 70's, white van goes past.
6 of 10

City of God - Narrative and Genre

  • Story of Knockout Ned goes forward.
  • end of 60's - western/gold, dust, robbing truck like bandits.
  • Story of Otto - joined Carrot's gang to kill Knockout Ned.
  • V.O. of Rocket makes no reference to what we are seeing (police shoot innocent person).
  • the tender trio consist of Shaggy, Goose (Rocket's brother) and Clipper.
  • All want to go and start a farm, relate to ancestors from arid back lands of Brazil.
  • film full of vignettes - Knock at Blacky's place 3 times, first knock starts story of apartment, 2nd knock story of Lil Zee, 3rd knock Lil Zee shoots Blacky in the foot. jump dissolve is used to show the story.
  • red brigade started in 60's - some killed some imprisoned, if runts dont know their history then they shall repeat it.
  • story of apartment - woman starts dealing drugs, man kills woman, carrot works with man, carrot overpowers man and kills him, Blacky takes over from carrot.
  • non-linear structure - comes full circle portraying the runts taking over drug trade. also starts near the end flashbacks e.g. tender trio.
7 of 10

La Haine - Power, Poverty and Conflict

  • Gun is the key example of power - beginning and end, shows repetative cycle of violence - ironic.
  • When Hubert gets the gun, does the exact opposite of what he has been preaching.
  • three friends dont have much money.
  • dont have same rights , due to race/skin colour.
  • narrative shows the issue of poverty in a negative way- where they live and how they behave.
  • Said doesnt have the same rights as other friends due to his Arabic origin.
  • Vinz copies De Niro's character in 'Taxi Driver', shows he only believes what he is being shown, not had opportunity to explore anything else. common way of how poverty has an effect.
  • the conflict is between the gangs and the police e.g. on the roof.
  • good cop tries to prevent conflict by trying to help Hubert get his gym back.
  • Abdul being shot gives the gangs a reason to be angry and fight.
  • good cop releases Said from questioning.
  • Notre Dam shooting Vinz, face off with Hubert and Notre Dame.
8 of 10

La Haine - Narrative and Characters

  • clock counting down to something, how their lives drag on, set over 24 hours.
  • out of place in Paris - trombone shot.
  • Said's eyes at beginning and end of film show a repetative cycle.
  • going to paris - they finally leave and have freedom, then have to return - trapped shows juxtaposition between two places.
  • clock - 1 second change at the end.
  • Said - joker, mostly laidback, keeps friends together. we assume that he survives at the end, Arab origin.
  • Vinz - likes to make it seem that he doesnt care about religion - dreams of Jewish dance. French helped Germans to take Jewish camps - wants to hide religion.
  • Hubert - black african origin, the calmest when gym is destroyed it unphases him. boxed for france shown as an intro to character.
9 of 10

La Haine - Messages and Values and The Media

  • The gun is a symbol of hatred.
  • the gun appears throughout the film.
  • trainee policeman watching Said being questioned, hates torturing.
  • police - Notre Dame - 'hot head', is Arab.
  • good cop is also Arab.
  • Police chief is white.
  • 'The world belongs to us' advert. Said scribbles 'No', world belongs to the gangs.
  • Vinz is very ironic that he doesnt want to be on camera, but complains when he's not on TV.
  • Media want action/violence from the three friends.
10 of 10


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