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BBC Art Screen: Film ‘Rio’ opens festival with a barrage of Brazilian rhythm

On Thursday night the BBC’s film festival Art Screen officially launched at the Glasgow Film Theatre. The occasion was marked by the premiere of director Julien Temple’sdocumentary ‘Rio 50º Carry On Carioca.’

The film took the audience on a colourful and musical tour of the eponymous Brazilian city as it gears up to host two massive global sporting events, The FIFA World Cup this summer and the Olympics in 2016.

Rio is as much an audio experience as it is a visual one. Temple, 61, intersperses his movie with classic Brazilian music ranging from mellow Bossa Nova lounge music to raucous samba beats in an attempt to capture the essence of what it means to be a ‘Carioca’ (citizen of Rio De Janeiro).  The history of the city and the social inequality (one third of the inhabitants live in slum-like ‘favelas’) is explored in depth through the experiences of dozens of locals and archival footage.

The result is an explosion of sound and colour that takes a closer look at the city beyond the sun, sex and samba that it is often associated with.

It is a pertinent time to be focusing on Rio de Janeiro. The world is watching the country’s preparations for The World Cup. However many Cariocas are dismayed that their government has spent more on Brazil’s World Cup preparations than the last four tournaments combined. This sense of being ignored by their government seeps out of the narrative of locals and  accompanying scenes of recent rioting show just how angry people have become with government officials.

Temple, who began his career documenting the rise of The Sex Pistols in The Great Rock n Roll Swindle, has visited Rio several times and participated in a Q&A session with the BBC’s Kirsty Wark after the viewing. While recounting his varied experiences of Rio – from hanging out with the Rolling Stones to begging on Rio’s streets – Temple discussed why he chose to produce a documentary of Rio.

“I first went to Rio in 1978 and I fell in love with the energy of the city.

“You can see the energy of the people and there is a great sense within the young people that things are changing and they will inherit something better.

“I love history and I love the idea of making history valuable for future generations through film.”

The BBC’s Kirsty Wark quizzes Julien Temple. Credit: Luciano da Graca

Wark questioned Temple on his film making style. “I don’t pre-plan. I never do. I feel it kills the energy.

“The whole thing was shot in 16 intensive days. Round the clock.”

Rio made for a lively and intense introduction to the BBC’s first arts documentary film festival.

Full listings of the remaining BBC Art Screen shows can be found here. The festival ends tomorrow evening.

The final edit of Rio will be released in 4 weeks.

Follow Sam on Twitter: @SamShedden

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