Tag Archives: Rio

Carlos Saldanha, the soul of Rio (the animation film)

Rio, the animation that just took in $40 million on its opening weekend (that is, last weekend) in the USA, after accumulating $168 million in other countries, is the latest Hollywood incursion of carioca director Carlos Saldanha, who also directed the Ice Age saga and co-directed Robots. Considered one of the best movie animators out there, he was nominated to the Oscar for his short Gone Nutty. If you understand Portuguese, check this great  one-hour interview on Roda Viva TV program,  where he describes his trajectory. Otherwise, you can check this  short video in English where he is interviewed by young viewers of his movie.

Saldanha is only one of the shiny stars of the Brazilian renaissance in Hollywood. This week, Forbes magazine reminds us that: Continue reading Carlos Saldanha, the soul of Rio (the animation film)

10 best nudist beaches in Brazil

Grumari beach
Abricó beach, in Rio. Photo from Wikipedia

Despite its very wide coast, Brazil has few beaches destined to the practice of naturism. In most beaches, you are expected to keep your bathing suit on (and this includes the ladies’  tops). Topless girls are welcome in some places, but that is not universally practiced, accepted or allowed. Technically, it is still illegal to be naked in public in Brazil, but there is a bill waiting for approval in the Senate that might change that.

So, if you like to sunbathe in your birthday suit, you might have to look for the few isolated spots that offer privacy and total freedom for the practice of naturism. Most of them are regulated by local legislation.

Here is the list of official naturist beaches, organized from Northern to Southern states, in case you intend to vacation “au naturel”:

1 – Tambaba – in the city of Conde, state of Paraíba.With white sands and natural pools, it hosted, in 2008, the International Naturist Conference. Continue reading 10 best nudist beaches in Brazil

All you need to know about violence in Rio

“Notícias de uma Guerra Particular” (News of a Private War) is a brilliant documentary with English subtitles by documentarist João Moreira Salles (brother of Walter Salles, that directed the film “Central do Brasil“/”Central Station”) and Kátia Lund, one of the directors of “Cidade de Deus“/”City of God”. Winner of É Tudo Verdade/It’s All True, the main South American documentary festival, it portraits the violence in Rio, its relationship with drug traffic and how it influences life in shanty towns. It was produced in 1999 but is definitely still valid.

Heavy, but very enlightening.

This mess will be eternal? Maybe not. Fellow blog The Good Blood highlighted this week an article by the Guardian that says that there is hope for Rio: “Samba replaces sound of gunfire as Rio de Janeiro favela is purged of drug traffickers”.

You might be also interested in the following post:

José Padilha, the hottest documentarist around

Rio: images that sum up the drama

A few days ago I published a bumper sticker that spoke of the violence that reigns in Rio these days. One of my readers said it was a “grossly simplistic view” that “supports the stereotyped visions of Rio”. With all due respect, I don´t think it is about stereotypes, but about reality. I have been talking to friends and family that tell me tough stories, even if they don´t live in favelas and are not directly menaced by the conflict. One of my cousins was in a taxi in Copacabana when she saw two undercover policemen running with machine guns and arresting two guys in the sidewalk, a few feet away from her. Another cousin, who works close to Morro do Alemão, in a building fully bullet proof, is really worried about his trips back home.

Anyways, check these great but scary photos just published by the Boston Globe and give me your opinion – what is the fair way to report on this crisis and Rio´s situation? Is the international press fair in the way it deals with the situation?

One Brazilian gay killed every two days

Gay Pride Parade in Rio. Photo by Talita Oliveira, via Flickr

A student was shot during the 15th edition of the Rio Gay Pride Parade. Two boys were insulted and heavily beaten by upper class teenagers at Avenida Paulista, one of São Paulo’s postcards. These two episodes happened in the last few days in two metropolis that are, arguably, the heart of the gay community in the country.

It is no surprise. According to an annual report about violence against homosexuals published by Grupo Gay da Bahia, the oldest gay advocacy active in the country, in the last two years, one gay Brazilian was killed every two days. It’s 54% more than the two previous years.  Violence was particularly serious in the states of Bahia and Paraná. In 2009, 117 gays, 72 transvestites (and transsexuals) and 9 lesbians were murdered. Click here and here for the full report published in March (in Portuguese). Attention: the second link includes very graphic images of corpses.

In a recent post I mentioned a poll that indicated that 26.1% of the Brazilian interviewees would rather not having a homosexual neighbor. The consequences of this prejudice are evident. A new public phone service (#0800 023 4567) created to record complaints against homophobes in the state of Rio registered 1.500 calls since July. Aggressions are particularly frequent in the shanty towns of the city of Rio. In some cases, gays, lesbians and transvestites are expelled from their communities.

This is sad. Let’s reach for the intolerant ones that surround us and try to help them see beyond their prejudices.

And if you want to learn more about gay life in Brazil, read this post, which was definitely more optimistic.

Zeppelin over the tropics

“We ran upstairs to the open porch and saw the colossal Graf Zeppelin float by above us, sunshine reflecting from its silver sides”, describes Alicia Momsen Miller, that was five in 1930, when she first saw the dirigible. Three years later, together with her two brothers, she was one of the first kids to ever fly in the Graf Zeppelin. By then, it had an established route between South America, Europe and the US.

Alicia’s father was an American diplomat and lawyer based in Rio. He was offered a free trip from Rio to Chicago  to visit the World’s Fair, named “A Century of Progress”. Her mother visited the airship and said, shocked, that the fabric looked like you could poke a hole through it with your finger. “She was horrified, deciding never to trust her children in such a thing”, remembers Alicia. “But my father insisted they look at the accommodations in the gondola, and they ascended the short sturdy ladder. ‘What a surprise!’,  my mother said, ”The large living room with its big windows had a number of attractive chairs and tables, and down the hall were wonderful  roomy double staterooms.’ She felt the mattresses, and found them comfortable. ‘If anything happens, at least we’ll all be together’, she said”. And so they traveled. Continue reading Zeppelin over the tropics

Gorgeous Rio Carnival

A little aftertaste of Carnival: the Havaiana flipflops add currently on TV shows a lady criticizing a bunch of guys (including actor Marcos Palmeira) who are celebrating while the world is in crisis. Palmeira sighs and says tristeza (sadness), which reminds the group of a classical samba, by Haroldo Lobo and Nilton de Souza.

Don Quijote, the theme of União da Ilha
Porta-bandeira of São Clemente

The photos I chose were produced by Riotur, the tourism agency of the city of Rio.