Home > Reviews > CITY OF MEN – Antônio Pinto

CITY OF MEN – Antônio Pinto

February 29, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Original Review by Clark Douglas

A follow-up to the popular Brazilian television series of the same title, “City of Men” is a film about the troubled friendship of two young men in Rio (Douglas Silvo and Darlan Cunha). The two friends each discover secrets from their past, and attempt to deal with their violent future as gang members. Over time, a great deal of strain is put on their friendship. The film is well-liked by those who have seen it, but it seems to have pretty much slipped under the radar of just about everyone.

Music is provided by composer Antônio Pinto, who was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro. In fact, Pinto has spent the first decade or so of his career scoring Brazilian film and television efforts, including the “City of Men” television show. In recent years, Pinto has gone on to more mainstream Hollywood efforts like “Lord of War”, “10 Items or Less”, and “Perfect Stranger”, but he makes a return to his roots with this effort, a hip and sometimes harsh world music score that runs all over the map stylistically.

After a brief snippet of dialogue, a Portuguese rap tune opens the album, “Vietnam a Brasileira”. The vocals are performed by Rappin Hood, but Pinto provides the music, in the very literal sense. Not only did he write the tune, he plays all the instruments in the piece… guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, percussion and cavaquinho. This is most assuredly a very hands-on effort for Pinto, he also performs these and a few other instruments (flute, vibratone, melodica, guitarron) throughout the score. He even provides vocals for a few cues! Though he is aided by a few musicians here and there, “City of Men” is almost entirely Pinto’s album in every way… believe it or not, it was actually recorded in his living room.

However, I’m sad to report that Pinto’s personal contribution to this score may be more interesting to many listeners than the score itself. As with many world music film scores, the album tends to spotlight individual highlights and ethnic flavor at the expense of any thematic coherence or dramatic flow. It’s more like Brazilian source music than traditional dramatic film scoring, but that’s not to say that the album is never enjoyable or effective. Indeed, a few moments here are quite entertaining and easily accessible to the average western ear.

“O Poligamo” is the first piece of note, a funky jam session with some punchy brass and slick electronics, sure to please fans of David Holmes-style scoring. “O iPod Da Mina” is a short, tender 7-Strings guitar solo that I liked quite a lot, too. My very favorite piece on the album is the cello-and-bass duet “O Pai E O Filho”, a piece that recalls the wonderful music of Django Reinhardt. It’s centered around a splendid main theme, it’s a terrible shame that there’s not more like it on the album. The theme shows up again in more ethereal form in “Heraldo Disse Nao”, a brief but gentle guitar piece. Finally, the penultimate cue, “Agora Adultos” is a splendid piece of Mark Isham-style dramatic scoring for guitar, keyboards, and light percussion.

Add all that up, and you get around 11-12 minutes of strong music, enough to put together a compelling suite. Unfortunately, the rest of the 32-minute album is padded with material that is either terribly dull (the bland percussion/synth atmosphere of “A Guerra E A Paz”), abrasively harsh (the growling rap material mixed with odd noises in “Radio”), or just plain bitty (a lot of the cues feel too short to grow into anything interesting). My recommendation would be to go to iTunes and download “O Pair E O Filho”, “O Poligamo”, and “Agora Adultos”, and you have pretty much all the strong material from the score for only three dollars. Unless you are a fan of world music or of Pinto’s early work, proceed with caution before picking up the whole album.

Rating: **½

Track Listing:

  • Madrugadão No Mar (performed by Os Meninos do Filme) (0:25)
  • Vietnam a Brasileira (written and performed by Antônio Pinto and Rappin Hood) (3:17)
  • Nefasto (0:27)
  • O Polígamo (2:40)
  • A Fuga (1:57)
  • Cadê o Clayton (1:45)
  • O Pai e o Filho (2:44)
  • Radio (1:48)
  • Heraldo Disse Não (1:03)
  • Foto Vazia (0:52)
  • Heraldo e a Memória (0:49)
  • A Guerra e a Paz (3:23)
  • A Memória (0:24)
  • O iPod Da Mina (written and performed by Antônio Pinto and Edmilson Capelupi) (1:14)
  • Laranjinha E Acerola (1:23)
  • Dub-Love (Dub Do Amor) (1:03)
  • Agora Adultos (4:07)
  • A Cidade Dos Homens (Corpo Fechado) (written and performed by Antônio Pinto with Céu & Curumin) (3:19)

Running Time: 32 minutes 40 seconds

Lakeshore LKS-33978 (2008)

Music composed by Antônio Pinto. Performed by Antônio Pinto, Rappin Hood, Ed Cortês, Nahar Gomes, Sidney Borgani, DJ Marco, Bruno Buarque, Jaques Morelenbaum, Fil Pinheiro and Edmilson Capelupi. Recorded and mixed by Antônio Pinto, Carlos Lima and Missionario Jose. Album produced by Antônio Pinto.

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