Grey City

(Cidade cinza)
Guilherme Valiengo, Marcelo Mesquita | Documentary

2013 | 80 minutes | Brazil

A new form of graffiti was in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The works of artists such as Os Gêmeos, Nunca, and Nina spread from city streets to art galleries and museums around the world. When City Hall implemented a law to “combat visual pollution”, a graffiti war against the local government is unleashed.


On the streets of São Paulo, Brazil, a new form of graffiti was born. Like wildfire, the works of artists such as Os Gêmeos, Nunca, and Nina spread through the streets of the city and then to art galleries and museums around the world.

Nevertheless, City Hall implemented the Clean City Law in an effort to “combat visual pollution,” hiring a small team to paint over graffiti deemed aesthetically unpleasing. When a large-scale mural was painted over, the artists unleashed a graffiti war against the local government, giving birth to one of the most creative resistance movements in Latin American art. Together, the artists worked to recreate lost artwork in an act that embodied the tensions within the city over who decides which pieces are art and which pieces get painted over.

Grey City is not only a documentary about graffiti artists and their work but also a film about the city and streets of São Paulo, which are simultaneously a battlefield and a confluence point—with graffiti serving as the voice of the populace.


"★★★1/2 Well-known Brazilian artists...speak with great passion about their work, but the film also presents the bureaucratic response to the graffiti affair in a mature manner that is often lacking in similarly-themed documentaries. Highly Recommended." — P. Hall, Video Librarian

"Informative. Stunning. Gripping and screaming for graffiti recognition, Grey City is a must-see and must-talk about film." — Ana Young, Sounds and Colors

"Taking viewers to a city whose graffiti talent is renowned among street-art connoisseurs but less beloved by City Hall, Grey City finds its drama embodied in a huge stretch of wall -- once filled with art, then erased -- leading into a heavily trafficked highway underpass. Marcelo Mesquita and Guilherme Valiengo take this controversy as an excuse to get to know the city's underground stars in a lively doc that will please fans of the global graffiti scene..." — John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

"Weaving together an entertaining storyline, through the voices of famed artists...the film uses street art as a platform to portray a variety of interesting topics: art philosophy, political corruptness, and how a behemoth city can be full of peculiar charm." — Nick Partyka, The Fox is Black

"The artists devote a lot of their screen time to discussing the philosophical ramifications of street art. In that, it's art that is owned by no one owner, but rather to the people...It's an engrossing discussion that the film does a fantastic job of conveying." — Nick Partyka, The Fox is Black

Main credits

Mesquita, Marcelo (film director)
Mesquita, Marcelo (screenwriter)
Mesquita, Marcelo (film producer)
Valiengo, Guilherme (film director)
Valiengo, Guilherme (film producer)
Siffredi, Peppe (screenwriter)
Lacerda, Felipe (screenwriter)

Other credits

Cinematography, Tiago Tambelli; editor, Felipe Lacerda; music, Daniel Ganjaman.

Sao Pablo, Os Gêmeos, nunca, Nina, Finok, Zefix, Ise, Fabio Cypriano and Luis Alves da Costa, graffiti, visual pollution, artists, street art, spanish, spanish language, latin america, latin american cinema, latin american film, ibero america, latin, latinx, latino, latina,,latin american studies, caribbean american studies, island studies, latin american culture, latin american history, latin american politics, caribbean american culture, caribbean american history, caribbean american politics, latin american languages, latin american and caribbean studies, hispanic american studies, hispanic people, hispanic culture, hispanic politics,urban studies, urbanism, community development, communities, urbanization, civic centers, satellite cities, residential areas, gentrification, barrioization, boomtown, bedroom communities, city block, city center, community displacement, white flight, walkability, zoning, housing, incorporated areas, unincorporated areas, suburbs, exurbs, inner cities, inner city, conservation ,culture, identity, identity politics, culture wars, left wing, right wing, intersectionality, identity groups, civilization, literacy, humanism, cancel culture, online culture, cultural revolution, cultural diffusion, culture shock, popular culture, pop culture, material culture, cultural capital, cultural assimilation ,political science, micropolitics, macropolitics, political theory, political education, political movements, political thinking, political criticism, poly sci, polysci, political sci, political sciences, political history, history of politics, political systems,sociology, anthropology, psychology, sociological, sociological perspectives, conflict theory, human conflicts, sociological thinking,conflict perspective, topics in sociology, sociology topics, sociology studies, social studies, people and cultures, human relations, human relationships, cultural studies, culture studies ,south america, south american countries, countries in south america, argentina, bolivia, brazil, chile, colombia, ecuador, guyana, paraguay, peru, suriname, uruguay, venezuela, south american politics, south american culture, south american cuisine, south american education, south america in media, south american languages, south america history,Grey City,brazil,Grey city: Artists use graffiti as political resistance in Brazil,gray city,Graffiti,white walls,brazil documentary,globalization and art,-_Grey city,grey,Bomb It,political graffiti ,graffiti sao paulo,"são paulo",gray city:,Latin american art,brazil rap,art,brazil grafitta,portuguese,CIDADE CINZA,latin art,cities,artist,sao paulo,brazil religion,US,mural,collage,brazil sau paulo,hispanic films,street art,grey cityh,Grey City Artists Use Graffiti as Political Resistance in Brazil,murals,brazil graffiti; "Grey City"; Pragda Films
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Montréal World Film Festival
São Paulo International Film Festival
Zürich Film Festival
Warsaw Film Festival

DIRECTOR: Guilherme Valiengo, Marcelo Mesquita


YEAR: 2013

GENRE: Documentary

LANGUAGE: Portuguese

COLOR / B&W: Color

GRADE LEVEL: High School, College, Adults



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