While Rio still burns after one week of televised civil war, the echoes of the struggles between the favelas and the rest of city reaches North America in two documentaries that go beyond just showing life in the favelas as a spectacle.
Remix-To-Rio is a documentary about a crew from Toronto's Remix Project -- a cultural and learning institute for at-risk youth in Toronto -- who go to Rio to help build a creative centre for the youth in a favela. What they see and live there changes them and the people around them, and creates a bond beyond language in a surprising way -- surprising, if you're not Brazilian. The video was produced with the financial support of the Government of Canada and is available for free viewing on the movie website.
Meanwhile, documentarist Lucy Walker just released Waste Land, her project with Brazilian superstar art photographer Vik Muniz. He decided to do an art project in the biggest landfill in the world, located in the outskirts of the city of Rio and what he found there, despite his expectations, was a colourful and strong cast of characters, real Brazilian folk who impart beauty to the trash. Issues of classism, art value, dignity and environmentalism come up and help make this one of the best documentaries of 2010.
Both movies are moving, thought-provoking and put in perspective how we, the privileged few, see and think about poverty and happiness.