Movement is the act of changing physical location or position. Filmmakers have a goal of transmitting a message throughout their film; therefore, they make or create meaning by extensively using the movement technique. This is how a scene is put together to produce an image. Fernando Meirelles directed the Movie City of God, a Brazilian crime drama film. City of God strikingly portrays the evolution of the city’s crime from robbing gas trucks, to a city owned by one boss, Lil Ze; leading to an all out war zone between rival dealers. Dadinho is an ambitious, heartless kid. As soon as he is old enough, he becomes a psychotic crime lord, changing his name to Lil Ze. He also grows a mustache for the occasion, marking his coming of age. Now, through the movement technique Meirelles shows Lil Ze’s transformation; his movement in the film evokes emotions and thoughts about his persona that heightens the point Meirelles is trying to make of how impulsive and malicious Lil Ze becomes. In Lil Ze’s movement there is a pattern throughout the film in which we see a specific movement, from right to left, a technique that clearly displays Lil Ze’s need to let others know he is in control.
Movements can have diverse meanings according to the book Understanding Movies by Louis Giannetti. For example there are vertical movements, upward movements, downward movements, towards and away from the camera. Also, according to this film professor, physical movements that are from right to left in this exact direction seem unnatural. As mentioned previously in City of God, there is a pattern with this kind of movement that expresses ideas of power in the hands of a senseless killer, Lil Ze. To Giannetti movements are very important in a scene, since they help create an image in the audience’s head. Movements make everything clearer, by adding emphasis on the important parts of the film.
One of City of Gods heartbreaking moments is when Lil Ze is looking for a group of little kids in the slums. Once Lil Ze is of age, we can see how he is in control, after he took over Blackie’s business and was planning on expanding his business with Benny. Giannetti chooses to have Lil Ze walk up to the kids from right to left; this is not normal as far as Giannetti. However the actions that follow this movement, are rather disturbing, since Lil Ze is senselessly hurting children to show his power. As Lil Ze approaches the kids, he is constantly moving his head from right to left. This causes for him not to stare at the camera. Lil Ze proudly walks up to the children, making him look like the boss he claims to be. He does this as he swings a gun on his right hand from right to left, and seconds later starts shooting at the kids. Giannetti shows how important character movement is; to see Lil Ze making these moves evokes fears, and impressions of his importance and sovereignty.
Benny’s farewell party has a significant series of shots in which we see the right to left movement technique,...