I went to the cinema last night, for the first time in years. On the menu was the critically acclaimed brazillian movie Tropa de Elite. The most talked about Brazilian film since Fernando Meirelles’ Oscar nominated masterpiece City of Gods. The director of Tropa de Elite, Jose Padilha, has already scoped the top prize at the Berlin International Film Festival with this extremely violent and moving work based on semi-fictional accounts of Rio de Janeiro’s strategic para-military police force back in 1997, just before the visit of the Pope to Brazil. The film is an in depth exploration of want it takes to become a member of BOPE, or Rio’s Special Police Operation Battalion. It is also an exposé of systemic corruption within Rio’s police forces. Tropa de Elite graphically depicts what many of us in Europe had already thought about the Brazilian authorities attitude towards policing in the slums of Rio – they train, arm to the teeth, and unleash death squads into Rio’s poor and lawless favelas. The central police character coldly explains how BOPE, the ‘men in black enter the favela to kill – never to die’. Tropa de Elite is no ordinary cops and robbers’ film – it is a civil war film. It’s a must see movie especially for the fans of City of Gods, or anyone who has any real serious interest in all things Brazilian.