Film form of the opening sequence from “City of God”

Film form includes multiple aspects of the film language, including cinematography, editing, sound, lighting and color, and mise-en-scene (SAE Film and Media, 2015). Analysing the film form of the opening sequence from “City of God” (Meirelles, 2002), it is vital to pay attention to editing used while creating the sequence. First of all, the high paced editing has been used in order to present the world of the film. The editor uses a lot of cuts, showing the audience the life at the Brazilian slums. Parallel editing technique is used to show different actions happening at the same time: the chasing of the chicken and the main character walking down the street. When the main characters meet each other, the editor uses slow motion to enhance the dramatic effect.

Talking about the sound, many diegetic sounds – “sounds whose source is visible on the screen or whose source is implied to be present by the action of the film” (, n.d.) – are used in the opening sequence, including sharpening of the knife, playing some Latin music, chickens being killed, shouts and gunshots. Apart from that, a non-diegetic music appears during the chasing of the chicken.

The use of color also plays a significant role in the film form of the opening scene of City of God. Mostly the cold tones are being used in the main part of the scene. The image looks a bit desaturated, and the blue color dominates in the color system. However, during the flashback, the colors are rather warm, and the yellow color dominates in the color palette.

References (n.d.). Diegetic Sound. Retrieved February 18, 2018 from

Ribeiro A. B. (Producer) & Meirelles. F. (Director). (2002). City of God [Motion Picture]. Brazil: Miramax Films.

SAE Film and Media. (2015, 30 January). Film form. Retrieved February 18, 2018 from

One comment

  1. faizaanraheel · April 26, 2018

    Lisa here takes into consideration the three main things that are evident in the opening scene of city of god, i.e. the editing technique, sound, and the colour. the editing, as mentioned above, creates that sense of urgency thats crucial in getting a feel as to how the chicken feels at that particular point in time, the colours, during the chicken scene are blue, much colder, much like its environment, and sort of a what the chicken is going through, cold times. and last but not the least, the sounds, having the voices of the actors loud and the chicken a bit mellowed down, gives us a sense of how the butchers are a bit more overpowered than the chicken.


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