|© The Wu-Tang Corp.- 2003-04-05
Celebrities are taking their support of the violent Brazilian gang film "City of God" to the theaters.
Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, Gabriel Byrne, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are among the stars so moved by the film that they've agreed to speak to audiences and friends to help promote the based-on-truth story about young teens who get involved in gang warfare in the notoriously dangerous City of God neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. The award-winning film's raw feel and and sense of desperation offers the simple message that violence isn't an answer.
RZA is a recent fixture at the screenings at Hollywood's recently-opened Arclight complex, where he brings his in fans, friends and fellow music stars as he introduces the film.
"I hope that you'll be as moved as I have about this movie, and I hope that it will make you realize that violence only begets more violence," he tells the audience in the theater. "It'll blow you away."
He makes sporadic appearances at the theaters to help promote the film, directed by Fernando Meirelles and starring unknown actors Matheus Nachtergaele, Seu Jorge, Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino da Hora and Douglas Silva.
In an interview with www.Zap2it.com, RZA says, "I love this movie and I think everyone should see it. This movie is an extreme, but we have neighborhoods right here in Long Beach, South Central, Compton that are becoming like this, and I have my friends from my neighborhood coming here to see it, too, so they can get something out of it."
He laughs, "Yeah, and some of them are pretty rough, and they are pretty moved by this film."
RZA says that he's most moved by the fact that pre-pubescent 8- and 9-year-old boys are getting involved in gangs and participate in killing and maiming one other without conscience. He points out that similar realities are not far away in the Los Angeles area.
"I know there are 13 and 14 year olds, little kids, who get involved in gangs right here," says RZA, who has appeared and written music for movies such as "Ghost Dog, Way of the Samurai" and " Big Pun: Still Not a Player."
The hip-hop star blames the lack of a school, and lack of spirituality in the increase of violence in the neighborhoods. He also blames police.
"One of the biggest problems I see is the corrupt cops that patrol these neighborhoods," RZA adds. "It's shown in the film, it's happening in our communities,too. I know good ones, there are some in my family, but they also are part of the problem in areas like this."
Although the film won honors at many film festivals throughout the world, and was nominated for a Golden Globe, it was too controversial to be the Brazilian entry into the Academy Awards this year. And so Miramax, which is distributing the movie in the United States, is encouraging word-of-mouth among the stars.
"There is a lack of compassion, and there is a lack of compassion from the people outside looking in," RZA says. "The image of what we see on TV about this is not reality, this is the most real that has ever been shown -- no Hollywood film has ever shown this."