Rio Prepares For Olympics Opening Ceremony
The world will say that Brazil is soccer, that Brazil is hot women,” said Ms. Colker, one of the country’s most famous choreographers and part of an opening-night creative team that includes film makers Fernando Meirelles, Andrucha Waddington and Daniela Thomas.
But viewers may be in for some surprises when the first South American city ever to host the Olympics lights the torch inside Rio’s Maracanã Stadium, before a VIP-studded crowd of 70,000.
Sure, there’ll be plenty of colorful, costumed shimmying, and uptempo samba, bossa nova and Tropicália rhythms, some performed by legends Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil. And any foreign tourist who has shed his or her inhibitions on Copacabana Beach during Carnival likely will spot elements of Rio’s famous pre-Lenten bashes in Friday’s telecast.
Officially, the show’s producers are sworn to secrecy about their handiwork. But they’ve divulged that the nearly four-hour, multi-media spectacle will make poetic reference to such national obsessions as the Amazon rainforest and the curious case of aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, whom Brazilians regard as the true father of flight, no matter what partisans of Orville and Wilbur argue.
“We don’t have to get stuck in stereotypes or folklore,” said Ms. Colker, a contemporary dancer who as a choreographer has worked with some of Rio’s Samba schools, which stage the annual Carnival shows. Among the film directors on the team, Mr. Meirelles made his mark with “City of God,” an unflinching look inside one of Rio’s poorest, most crime-afflicted hillside communities. His genre-switching versatility is on display in adaptations of “The Constant Gardener” and “Blindness.” Mr. Waddington is a savant of Brazil’s impoverished but culturally rich northeast, the backdrop for films like “House of Sand.” Ms. Thomas also has probed the national character in movies about ordinary Brazilians’ lives and struggles.
Like a pole-vaulting gold medalist, Rio’s creative team knows it must reach a bar that has been raised ever higher by recent Opening Ceremonies.
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