Alternative programming: Getting real about Rio

from Rio de Janeiro: Urban Future

The 2016 Rio Olympics start tomorrow, and this year seems particularly fraught. Every Olympic event has some enormous, costly, potentially negative impact on its host – remember the broken hotels in Sochi and the wasted construction in Athens? – but Rio has it worst in recent memory. The Zika virus outbreak and hazardous water conditions are enough cause for alarm, but the government’s ongoing anti-crime and urban renewal efforts have revealed the dangerous state of the city.

To learn more about the challenges facing Rio as it heads into the global spotlight, consider watching one of these three streaming documentaries. (You will need to log in with your AU username/password to access these.)

  • Rio de Janeiro: Urban Future
    The Urban Future series looks at programs attempting to revitalize major cities. The Rio episode highlights the displacement of families living in neighborhoods razed to build Olympic facilities. What will happen to those communities after the Olympics are over and the buildings fall into disuse?
  • The Road to Rio
    Monty Python’s Michael Palin hosts this unexpectedly serious travelogue, where he describes the contrast between Rio’s glitzy Olympic-friendly image and marginalized neighborhoods overrun with drugs as “a mixture of construction and ruin at the same time.”
  • Witness: Rio
    In the grimmest of the three documentaries, Eros Hoagland takes a camera into Rio’s favelas document the city’s violence and the effect of the police’s attempts at “pacification.”
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