Last night one of my students and a friend of hers took me to see a film - Cidade de Deus (City of God), 2002. I'd heard of it while I was in Aussie, including that it being critically acclaimed. (It was nominated for 4 Oscars in 2004 - Best Cinematography; Best Director, Fernando Meirelles; Best Editing; Best Screenplay Based on Previously Published Material, from Paulo Lins's book of the same name.)
It was an amazing experience! OK, I really dislike violence and there was more than enough to turn any stomach; however, being based on fact and being also superbly acted and directed, I turned my mind to the poignant and incredible story that underpins the film. The story follows a young man, Buscapé, as he grows up against a background of escalating gang violence in possibly the world's most dangerous slum, the City of God, a suburb of Rio de Janeiro.
Admittedly, it was on the long side, and the slang-laden Brazilian Portuguese was really tough to follow (maybe 40% comprehension), causing the other foreigners in the cinema to leave fairly early on. I found my eyes bouncing around the Korean subtitles - beginning, end, then middle - to match the order of the Portuguese I was hearing, and this combination (alongside the emotive acting) thankfully pushed my level of understanding up to around 80 percent.
Meirelles is also the director of a newly-released film, The Constant Gardener (again based on a book - John Le Carré's), starring Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for it when it hits Asia.