Make Your Own Film Festival- Pick a Country (Part 2 of 7)

Windows doesn’t discriminate between regions any longer, and neither does Macintosh. Even if they do you should get a warning when inserting a Non-Region 1 DVD (meaning one made for distribution outside the US, Canada and Mexico) saying what region it is and asking if you want to change your computer’s region. Typically, there has been a set limit on how many times you could change regions before it became a permanent switch. Even if your computer is more finicky you still have an opportunity to watch many more DVDs, many of which you can only find online, that you never thought you could before.

Some foreign films have limited appeal and distribution internationally. With that in mind you should take that into account when traveling overseas and pick up some movies you won’t find in the US. Taking that in to consideration this critic made a number of purchases when in Brazil in 2008 to set up a mini-festival.

Tropa de Elite (Elite Squad)


Wagner Moura in Elite Squad (IFC Films)

Like the previous film it was an official selection of the Berlin Film Festival. This tale is like the flip side of City of God, this film instead takes the point of view of a specialized unit of the Military Police in Rio de Janeiro who battle drug trafficking and crime in the city’s favelas.

The film focuses on three officers in the troop. The protagonist/narrator is seeking a replacement so he can stop fighting in the war, as he terms it. The other two are novices who are being trained. The other interesting dichotomy that exists between this film and City of God is that for the most part it focuses on why things are the way they are and the way the police infrastructure allows things to stay the way they are where as City of God was much more focused on the sprawling tale of how things got the way they are.

The structure of this film does include a frame and is somewhat interesting and though there are moments of intensity and some very dramatic situations there is nowhere near the involvement or the frenetic energy that exists in City of God. The acting is quite good and the writing is rather strong in this tale but it’s nowhere near the revolutionary piece that the film earlier in the last decade was. Comparisons become hard to avoid when one film seems like such a companion piece to another, when they seem to be opposite sides of the same coin.

They would definitely make for a great double-feature if you can handle it.

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