‘City of God’ Rerelease to Kick Off From Middle East, Where Fernando Meirelles’ Cult Classic Never Screened

A planned international rerelease of Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles’ “City of God” will kick off from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), marking the 2002 cult crime drama’s first theatrical outing in the region.

Prominent Dubai-based distributor Front Row Filmed Entertainment has partnered with Paris-based distributor The Festival Agency – which in turn acquired the “City of God” rerelease rights from Wild Bunch – on what it said marks the beginning of many rereleases planned by Front Row going forward.

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“The team behind Front Row is committed to rereleasing classics and cult films, especially in Saudi Arabia where these films were not screened theatrically,” Front Row said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia, which in 2018 removed its 35-year-old religion-related ban on moviegoing, is now the region’s top theatrical market.

“City of God,” which is based on real events and weaves together tales of a group of kids growing up between the 1960s to the 1980s amid drug trade and gang warfare in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, won numerous awards and in 2004 scored four Academy Award nominations.

“The film holds a special place in our hearts; it was our first acquisition,” said Front Row CEO Gianluca Chakra, adding that at the time “we couldn’t release it theatrically due to language restrictions imposed by cinemas, and also because we couldn’t afford the budget it needed to stand out, so it went straight to DVD.”

Front Row will release “City of God” in MENA region theatres on Feb. 22, ahead of the cult film’s rerelease in the U.K. and Australia on Feb. 23 and in Ireland on March 15.

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