Friday, January 9, 2009

City of Men

I just watched "City of Men", the 2008 Brazillian movie, directed by Paulo Morelli, starring Douglas Silva as Acerola and Darlan Cunha as Larinjinha filmed on location in Dead End Hill of Rio de Janeiro. I'd been moved by the 2003 City of God movie about modern Rio de Janeiro. Channel surfing I got caught by producer Merielles follow up.

Two young fatherless friends, one turning 18 while the other hardly older and a father of the toddler, "Clayton" struggle with their own fatherless identities. Clayton is clearly as little impressed by his father's struggle with whether to be a father as the mother who must leave to earn a living. This deep and touching friendship with all the forced ethical development plays out against the background of shallow gangster war, crime and poverty. Having no intention but to watch a minute before going early to bed tired from a long days work, I watched the movie to the end inspired by the characters, the generational and family stories weaving in this exciting tale of urban survival.

My dad is 90. He told me on the phone how much he enjoyed feeding carrots to elk through the car window at a game park my brother took him to last week. Listening to the sadness and longing of these Brazilian boys I appreciated again having my Dad. He was always working and my brother and I were often his assistants whether it was fixing trucks and cars or building boats. He was a doer if ever there was a doer. A self sufficient man, a leader who at times had a hundred or more men working for him. Ex air force we felt the effects of the military training in the home but God the weekends could be wonderful. Toboganning, skating, playing catch. Following him everywhere in the woods. My brother, older got in behind him and if Iwas day dreaming the dog would get ahead of me. The rifle ranges, boy scouts, canoeing and duck blinds. Always the pick up truck and projects upon projects. Mom was ubiquitous and somehow always there. Camping and road trips were family favourites. It only got better when grandad was there, with grandma, the uncles and aunts and all the cousins. Then it was a whole lot of Dad's family and big tables of food and laughter. I liked my father's family. The ranchers and cowboys and loggers. There's a whole lot of good memories and pride of name that goes with knowing my Dad.

It's good when a movie speaks to the depth of the unseen. My dad was like clean air and safe water. It's easy to forget that's not the world all grow up in. Thanks to the men making this movie we can hope for Clayton as he toddles in uncertainty between these two fatherless sons.
It is a wise father that knows his own son. William Shakespeare 1564 -1616
Don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden: your father had an accident there, he was put into a pie by Mrs. McGregor. Beatrix Potter 1866 - 1943

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