As the world gears up for the upcoming Olympic Games, there is no better way to explore the host city Rio than watch the films that have immortalised it on celluloid.
We bring you five movies that have been successful in capturing the heart and soul of this Brazilian city.
Current flick: ‘Pelé – Birth of a Legend’
From his childhood in the favelas to his first World Cup win at the age of 17 in 1958, this biopic concentrates on the early years of the legendary Brazilian football player who was born in Rio de Janeiro. He is still regarded as the best player in history, not least because he is the only one to have won three FIFA World Cups.
Out on July 29 in VOD and DVD.
Classic must-see: ‘City of God’
In 2002, Fernando Meirelles revived Brazilian cinema with this social chronicle portraying the changes in a Rio neighbourhood. Between its construction in the 1960s and the mid-1970s, the City of God neighbourhood became a no-go zone ravaged by poverty and crime.
The story of Rocket, a child who aspires to become a photographer in this hopeless place, was a major success and scooped four Oscar nominations in 2004.
A different view: ‘Rio, I Love You’
© Provided by Hindustan Times
Following on from ‘Paris, je t’aime’ and ‘New York, I Love You’, the Brazilian city which is hosting this year’s Olympics was chosen in 2014 for a third movie in the ‘Cities of Love’ franchise. This film of short stories takes us into various neighborhoods including Paqueta in the center, Lapa, known for its arches, the heights of Santa Teresa, Copacabana and Alto da Boa Vista, where the famous Christ the Redeemer statue is located.
The directors include renowned local talent (Fernando Meirelles and Jose Padilha) along with international names such as Paolo Sorrentino and John Turturro.
One for the kids: ‘Rio’
The sun, warm bright colors and music of Brazil all come together in this 20th Century Fox animation movie that was released in 2011. This setting makes for a striking contrast with a rare macaw named Blu, who leaves his secure life in Minnesota for Rio, where Perla, the last female of their species, is waiting for him. The couple were such a success with young and old that they returned in 2014 for a sequel.
Historical setting: ‘OSS 117 – Lost in Rio’
Before he gained international fame with ‘The Artist’, Michel Hazanavicius directed a French comedy in 2009 which tells the story of a typically French secret agent OSS 117. In this spy parody, Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath (played by Jean Dujardin) is sent to Rio to recover a microfilm containing a list of French WWII collaborators.
The result is a pleasant tribute to France of the 1950s and 1960s and the cinema of that period, intertwined with pop music carefully selected by the Oscar-winning director.
Recommended: All you want to know about Rio Olympics