Virgin Atlantic to fly between UK & Brazil as of 2020

Following in the jet stream o Norwegian, it is now the turn of Virgin Atlantic to announce direct flights between the UK and Brazil. In this case a daily service as of 2020 from London Heathrow to São Paulo using the Boeing 787-9, Dreamliner, with an Upper Class, Premium and Economy Delight, Classic and Light offering.

This will be Virgin’s first South American route and it will join British Airways and LATAM Airlines in flying the London-São Paulo route direct, making Heathrow a very competitive hub to travel to-and-from Brazil and the rest of the south of South America.

Norwegian is scheduled to start flying direct to-and-from Rio de Janeiro and London Gatwick as of 31 March 2019. Norwegian will also use the Dreamliner. Briitish Airways also offers a daily direct service from London Heathrow to Rio de Janeiro.

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Novo Mundo Shuts its Doors

The Novo Mundo Hotel in Flamengo, that was inaugurated in time for the 1950 World Cup, closed its doors for business on 20 March 2019. Located next to what was then the Brazilian president’s residence, the Catete Palace, it accommodated many famous people over the years, including Pelé. The glory days, however, ended in the 1970s with the opening of new, more modern hotels in Copacabana which appealed more to international visitors.

Mangueira Champion of Rio’s 2019 Carnival

Estação Primeira de Mangueira is the champion of Rio’s top samba schools for the 20th time in its illustrious history after scoring a perfect total of 270 in 2019. Second, with 269.7 points, was Viraduro which has only just returned to the elite competition.

The results of Rio’s Carnival Parade in 2019 were:

  • Mangueira (270 points out of 270)
  • Viraduro (269.7)
  • Vila Isabel (269.4)
  • Salgueiro (269.3)
  • Portela (269.3)
  • Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel (269.0)
  • Unidos da Tijuca (268.8)
  • Paraíso do Tuiuti (268.5)
  • Grande Rio (267.9)
  • União da Ilha (267.7)
  • Beija-Flor (267.6)
  • São Clemente (267.4)
  • Imperatriz Leopoldinense (266,6)
  • Imperio Serrano (263.8)

Mangueira returned to the avenida the following Saturday, with the other top six samba school, to perform at the Winners’ Parade.

  Photos courtesy of RioTur – the city of Rio Tourist Authority.

New Waterborne Tour of Rio’s Bay

56327131831234443871153e3058701bRio has a new tour of its bay, Guanabara Bay, in modern 106 seater catamarans that depart from next to the Museum of Tomorrow (Museu de Amanhã), off Praça Maua in down town Rio, and cover the main attractions of the bay from its mouth at Sugar Loaf down to the Rio-Niteroi Bridge.

The waterborne tour takes around 70 minutes and departs Tuesday through Sunday at 12.00, 15.00 and 17.00. Tickets currently cost around US$20 or £16 (R$80).

For more information click here

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The Division (A Divisão): A film by Vicente Amorim

One of the most highly anticipated Brazilian films of 2019, Vicente Amorim’s The Division (A Divisão), that was introduced to international buyers during the 2019 Berlin Film Festival, is set across Rio de Janeiro.

Based and inspired by disturbing and shocking events that took place during the 1990s in Rio de Janeiro, The Division (A Divisão) is a dark, modern, violent, action-crime-thriller from the acclaimed Brazilian filmmaker, Vicente Amorim, and producer José Junior, Rio’s leading expert on urban violence and head of the NGO (and now production company) AfroReggae Audiovisual. The Division will receive a wide mid-2019 theatrical release in Brazil through Downtown Filmes and Paris Filmes, the companies behind the largest and most successful box-office releases in Brazil in recent years, and is being handled internationally by WTFilms that has introduced the film to the international buyers and distributors at the EFM during the Berlin Film Festival.

“The film is really about redemption, their redemption,” says Amorim, “ and what it is that sets our protagonists apart from the people around them. Although set in the 1990s, The Division is the genesis of what we are living through in Brazil today, with a President who defined his election campaign around violence. It is this need to move forward ­– regardless of the consequences and without measuring the risks – that represents a portrait of modern Brazil. The film reveals the inside of a machine that may start turning again at any moment.”

In the late 1990s, kidnapping became the crime of choice in Rio de Janeiro, with ten or more high profile cases each month. The population, at least those with money, were scared, and the authorities appeared paralysed as large ransoms were paid and some of the kidnapped were held for months or never returned. As corrupt police and officials looked the other way, justice was neither done or seen to be done, as the machine, and those linked to it, were funded by the money being generated from the kidnappings.

To stop the rot, and as a last resort, two police officers – one an incorruptible killing machine with over 100 kills to his name (played by Silvio Guindane); the other a dirty cop known for extorting money from the criminals (Erom Cordeiro) – were brought together and put in charge of Rio’s Anti-Kidnapping Division by the city’s Secretary for Public Safety & Security, a hard line general from the days of the military dictatorship, and his head of police, a socialist lawyer. The Division is their story and how by using very good intelligence and some questionable methods to solve the kidnappings, the two policemen come close to victory as the ends do seem to justify their means. But can too much intelligence be a dangerous thing? The film is based on the real events and the real people.

Amorim’s previous films have screened at, among others, the Toronto, Rotterdam, Karlovy Vary, Montreal, San Sebastian and Rio de Janeiro film festivals. They include the thriller Motorrad, selected for Toronto in 2017; the Brazil-Japanese co-production Dirty Hearts (Corações Sujos); the ethical thriller Good, with Academy Award nominee Viggo Mortensen, a film considered one of the ten best movies of 2008 by The Hollywood Reporter and Rex Reed (The New York Observer); and The Middle of the World (O Caminho das Nuvens) with Wagner Moura; as well as five successful television series.

Despite his work with Brazilian TV, Amorim has deliberately chosen not to cast well-known Brazilian television actors in The Division, as he wants the characters to be credible and real.

Working with the screenwriting team, and as a consultant on the film, is José Luiz Magalhães, a Rio police officer for over 30 years who led the actual team that ended the kidnapping wave in Rio de Janeiro. In The Division, his first work as a screenwriter, he tells his own story, and helps add essential context and the truth of what happened and who was involved.

“He is a brave man,” says Amorim. “As are all the people involved in this project. We have had to change names to keep people alive.”

Amorim was also helped on The Division by José Junior, Creative Director and CEO of AfroReggae Audiovisual (the film’s production company), who has created and produced several television series for channels in Brazil such as Multishow and GNT, including Urban Connections (Conexões Urbanas). He was also the producer of the multi-award winning documentary Favela Rising. The Division is AfroReggae Audiovisual’s first feature, and in Brazil it will also be expanded into a multi-part TV series for Globosat

“José gave us the access to people and places, and opened doors to locations where the real action took place,” adds Amorim. “He also made sure that the weaponry and other details used in the film are correct.”

Junior has mediated in a number of armed conflicts in Rio in a search for peace, and he is considered a pioneer for his work in helping free people in the favelas from a life of drugs and trafficking while helping to re-socialize them. His extraordinarily brave work at AfroReggae has been recognised internationally.

The film reunites Amorim and WTFilms, the Paris based sales company successfully sold the director’s Motorrad.  “Vicente’s style is immediately recognizable. He has a strong visual signature and the grittiness that buyers expect on Brazilian genre and action films,” explain WTFilms executives Dimitri Stephanides and Gregory Chambet.

Other partners in The Division include the co-producers Hungry Man, an international production company with offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and one of the world’s top production companies for commercials. Its short film Asad, was nominated for an Academy Award in 2013, and the company was nominated for an International Emmy this year for its five-part Words In Series (Palavras Em Série).

Co-producers include the successful Brazilian companies TV Globo, GloboFilmes, Globosat, GloboPlay, and the film’s Brazilian distributors, Downtown Filmes and Paris Filmes.

Rio de Janeiro World Capital of Architecture 2020

UNESCO has announced that the city of Rio de Janeiro will be the World Capital of Architecture for 2020. As the first World Capital of Architecture, and host to the Union of Architects World Congress (19-26 July 2020), Rio de Janeiro will hold a series of events under the theme “All the worlds. Just one world,” and promote the internationally agreed 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s 11th Goal: “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”

UNESCO, the UIA and local institutions will organize activities to promote projects involving architects and urban planners as well as policy makers, social institutions and professionals from other sectors including artists and writers in an open and creative space of dialogue and innovation.

Brazil wins Copa America Femenina

Brazil Ladies Copa

Brazil has won the Copa America Femenina and in the process has qualified for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France in 2019 (for the 8th consecutive time) and the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in Tokyo in 2020. Brazil played seven games in the Copa America , won seven, scoring 31 goals and conceding just two.

Chile has taken the second spot for the World Cup, but will have a play off with an African nation for a spot at the Tokyo Olympics.

Brazilian directors head for Cannes

Two Brazilian directors will have their films screened in the official section of this year’s Festival de Cannes

Carlos Diegues, who has had three films screen in competition at Cannes, will receive a special screening and the world premiere of his latest film “O Grande Circo Místico” (The Great Mystical Circus – photo). In 2012 Diegues’was chair of the Caméra d’or jury.

Sao Paulo born, LA based director Joe Penna, better known to his You Tube followers as Mystery Guitar Man, is to get a special midnight screening of his first feature, the thriller “Arctic” which stars Mads Mikkelsen, who headlined NBC’s Hannibal series.

Joe Penna

Themes and Times for Rio’s main Carnival parades in 2018

As we countdown to carnival in Rio the main samba schools, that make up the Grupo Especial, will parade on the nights of Sunday, 11 February and Monday, 12 February.

13 schools will parade in 2018, that is one more than normal after no school was relegated in 2017 and Império Serrano were promoted. It is expected that two schools will be relegated this year.

Following the draw by the League of Samba School (LIESA), seven schools will parade on Sunday, 11 February and six on Monday, 12 February. The order (and approximate start time) is:

Sunday, 11 February

  • Império Serrano (21.15)
  • São Clemente (22.00-22.30)
  • Vila Isabel (23.25-23.45)
  • Paraíso do Tuiuti (00.30-01.00)
  • Grande Rio (01.35-02.15)
  • Mangueira (02.40-03.30)
  • Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel (03.45-04.45)

Monday, 12 February

  • Unidos da Tijuca (21.15)
  • Portela (22.00-22.30)
  • União da Ilha (23.25-23.45)
  • Salgueiro (00.30-01.00)
  • Imperatriz Leopoldinense (01.35-02.15)
  • Beija-Flor (02.40-03.30)

The titles and rough theme of each samba school for 2018 – and many are likely to be political in content – are:

Sunday, 11 February

  • Império Serrano – O Império na Rota da China (A look at the silk route and the influences of China in Brazil)
  • São Clemente – Academicamente Popular (A celebration of the centenary of Rio’s Escola de Belas Artes – School of Fine Arts)
  • Vila Isabel – Corra, que o futuro vem aí!(Man’s discoveries and inventions and their impact on the environment and how we live)
  • Paraíso do Tuiuti – Meu Deus, meu Deus, está extinta a escravidão? (The story of slavery in Brazil)
  • Grande Rio – Vai para o trono ou não vai? (A celebration of the centenary of the birth of one of Brazil’s most popular entertainers and communicators, Chacrinha)
  • Mangueira – Com dinheiro ou sem dinheiro, eu brinco (A comment on the importance of carnival to the people and city even in an economic crisis)
  • Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel – Namastê… A Estrela que habita em mim saúda a que existe em você (A look at the impact and influences of India on Brazil)

Monday, 12 February

  • Unidos da Tijuca – Um coração urbano, Miguel, o arcanjo das artes, saúda o povo e pede passagem! (The school honours the popular actor, director and writer Miguel Falabella)
  • Portela – De repente de lá pra cá e dirrepente de cá pra lá (Looks at immigrants across the ages and their search for peace and liberty)
  • União da Ilha – Brasil bom de boca (A look at Brazil’s culinary delights)
  • Salgueiro – Senhoras do Ventre do Mundo (The importance and power of black women)
  • Imperatriz Leopoldinense – Uma noite real no Museu Nacional (The theme is the 200 year history of the National Museum, once home to the Emperors)
  • Beija-Flor – Monstro é aquele que não sabe amar. Os filhos abandonados da pátria que os pariu (Using the 200th anniversary of the publication of “Frankenstein” as the hook, the school looks at intolerance to those who are different)