Propelling Screen Drama

Antonio Pinto

City Of Men The Soundtrack (Lakeshore Records, 2008)

Often writing a music review for the soundtrack to a movie is a little tricky, especially without having seen the movie and the ability to put the music into context of the film. Title tracks blare out the general themes of the music of the movie, while those little odd pieces that seem to not have been totally realized snake their way in between longer tracks.

While the soundtrack to City of Men, the follow-up mini-series to the 2002  City of God about the tragedies of children living in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, isn’t without those soundtrack snippets, composer Antonio Pinto has made the journey back to Brazil well worth while. With a distinguished career working on Central Station, Lord of War, City of God and Love and Death in the Time of Cholera, Brazil’s Antonio Pinto has proved that he is an upcoming force to be reckoned with his "Discovery of the Year "award in 2003 for the World Soundtrack Awards and Flanders International Film Festival and his nomination for a Golden Globe, along with collaborator Shakira, for the song "Despedida."

he story of City of Men picks up on the stories of teenagers Acerola (Douglas Silva) and Lanranjinha (Darlan Cunha) from the first film and their continuing struggles in Rio’s favelas. The 2002-2005 mini-series of the City of Men is set soon to hit the big screen in film form.

Musically, the story finds voice on opening track "Vietnam A Brasileira" with the sultry Brazilian sound of Pinto on acoustic guitar, cavaquinho, bass, percussion and keyboards while Rappin Hood strikes tough with the vocals. Follow-up tracks like the lusty "O Poligamo," with its bright percussion and the sassy horns provided by Ed Cortes, Nahar Gomes and Sidney Borgani make the listener forget that this is soundtrack material.


The chunky bass line and keyboards on "Cade O Clayton" or the bluesy swing provided by cellos on "O Pai E O Filho" are reminders that this is movie music, but Pinto has crafted such loveliness that the tracks do stand up well on their own. Pinto provides a full emotional gambit on this CD with eerie instrumentals like "Heraldo E A Memoria," reggae-rooted romps like "Dub-Love" and mystical spirals on ""Agora Adultos" created by guitar, cavaquinho and keyboards, all played by Pinto.

While the soundtrack to the film City of Men is meant to propel the drama on the screen, the emotional reach of Antonio Pinto’s music wholly satisfying all on its own. The richness of the sound and Pinto’s own musicianship transform the drama of the screen to human drama, full of the beauty and drama of life.

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Author: TJ Nelson

TJ Nelson is a regular CD reviewer and editor at World Music Central. She is also a fiction writer. Check out her latest book, Chasing Athena’s Shadow.

Set in Pineboro, North Carolina, Chasing Athena’s Shadow follows the adventures of Grace, an adult literacy teacher, as she seeks to solve a long forgotten family mystery. Her charmingly dysfunctional family is of little help in her quest. Along with her best friends, an attractive Mexican teacher and an amiable gay chef, Grace must find the one fading memory that holds the key to why Grace’s great-grandmother, Athena, shot her husband on the courthouse steps in 1931.

Traversing the line between the Old South and New South, Grace will have to dig into the past to uncover Athena’s true crime.