As the eyes of the world turn to Rio de Janeiro for the 2014 World Cup, Welcome To Rio, a new three-part series for BBC Two explores life inside Rio’s famous shanty-towns.
The final episode celebrates the resourcefulness of some of Rio’s poorest residents. Living on their wits, favela residents are adept at exploiting whatever opportunities come their way. Rosie and her husband Marcos used to work on Rio’s landfill, but when they heard it was going to close they decided to start their own business, a recycling centre in their own backyard. With seven kids to feed they make good use of the items that they find, the things the everyday folk of Rio leave behind. Down on the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, favela entrepreneur Assis has a new business plan; while Jorge the sea scavenger rakes the sand beneath the waves looking for treasures left behind by the tourists and rich local residents. Thamy Delicia is a rising star in the favela funk scene, but her explicit lyrics and provocative dancing mean she needs to clean up her act if she is going to make it big outside of the favela and win the respect of her evangelical mother.
The first episode is filmed in one of the first favelas to be pacified, Cantagalo, and follows its residents, including Rocky, a delivery man extraordinaire, who works every day to support his family carrying fridges, ovens and televisions on his shoulders up Cantagalo’s labyrinth of secret staircases. He’s also got to deal with his wayward son Felipe, who’s caught up in the battle between the police and drug traffickers for control of the hill.