Thursday, March 24, 2011

When Did Poverty Become PR?

Going into Favelas in Rio is really becoming all the rage. There have always been favela tours for tourists but now even large events are happening in these special parts of Rio.

I think it's cool. It's nice that The Rio animated movie will have it's premier in the German Complex Favela (Complexo do Alemao).  The first screening will be for the stars, public school students, and guests. This one will be followed by 3 additional screenings open to the public.

That rocks! I can barely afford to see a movie here, I bet it's a real bitch for others. This is the kind of thing that boosts moral and really excites kids. Everyone loves a good movie and it's even better when it's about your city.

Now the thing I wonder about is the celebrity factor.  Ok, so Jamie Foxx and them are going to watch a movie in a favela and take pictures. So what?  Why does that cause warm fuzzies?

First off, the kids don't know who the hell they are.  It'd be a much bigger deal if these kids got to watch the movie with the latest cast of Big Brother Brasil.  Now that would get them excited!

And what are the kids really getting from this?  A photo with some skinny white girl? The free movie is obvious, but why make the whole premier there, other than for media attention.

I just don't think it's cool to use the poor to attract attention to your movie.  Sure, they have a great new movie theater, but open it to the public and let the families and people of the neighborhood enjoy the film in peace.

But if you did that, you wouldn't have all the photo-ops of poor children with Hollywood Movie Stars.

That's really something the American public loves, seeing their stars holding hands with someone less fortunate.  And you know, I love it too, if they are really doing something.  I'd like to see Anne Hathaway opt to wear a new pair of Havaianas and donate the $600 to $800 she would normally spend on shoes to  a program inside the favela.

Of course Jamie Foxx will end up playing soccer with some child. That is the picture they are waiting to see! If you are famous, have a penis, and you come to Brazil, you have to play soccer with a poor little boy. Just ask Bush and Obama.

I know I'm being a bit of a downer here. It doesn't hurt anyone to have this kind of event in a favela. Everyone enjoys a bit of stardom and a party.

I just can't help seeing the "good" PR they know they are getting. These stars get chauffeured from Ipanema or Leblon to their staged event. They take a few pictures and watch a movie and it's supposed to be a big deal.

Who are they kidding? Do the kids and families of Complexo Alemao a favor and bring in some of the Brazilian Soap Opera stars to really get the party started! I guarantee you, that would really rock the world of any Brazilian. 


  1. Doesn't look like Ms Hathaway is in Havaianas.

  2. I totally agree with your point of view.
    On the other hand, I think most Brazilians would think it is somewhat cynical to go into a favela to promote anything in their own benefit... :)

  3. Hi Rachel--love your blog. My husband is thinking of taking a job in Rio in a few months so I'm loving all your insight. How much does a movie cost there? Are they in English? Do you get recent releases? These might be stupid questions but...

  4. Not stupid at all. Movies are around R$18. We do get new releases but they normally come out a bit later here. And yes, they do have in English. OF course, animations are dubbed and it's a bit of a bitch to find them with subtitles.

    Thanks for reading my blog! Glad you enjoy it! Let me know if you have any other questions :)

  5. I have known some to watch recent releases on their computer via torrrent files. It's all out there, ahhh, apparently.

    But you didn't hear it from me.

  6. Movies are usually available online before they come out here. They are also available on pirated DVD on every street corner 3 for R$10 as soon as they are in the theater. It takes some shopping around to find the pirate dealer who has the english soundtrack option and high quality videos (no shaking camera in the theater jobs) but that is what 8/10 cariocas do. R$20/person is out of most people's reach. The theater is saved for the pics you really think you'll love and want the big screen for.

    Nothing worse than dubbed movies. I saw the Simpson's dubbed with an American friend when it came out...we were the only ones who got half of the jokes and the translation was miserable.

    They also use the SAME voices for EVERYTHING -tvs, movies, etc. It is bizzarre to hear a voice one minute as a teenager super hero and the next as a 40year old bad guy. Its one of the few things I still cant handle after 6 years here.

  7. Rachel - I also agree with your point of view except I don't think Jamie Foxx is going to be playing futebol with any child this trip, last I heard he is too busy playing with Nicole Bahls and others.

    Jim - Uh, torrent...what is that? It couldn't be some site where one could have downloaded Battle Los Angeles last week? I don't know what you are talking about...LOL.