Carnaval 2022

It is “Parabéns” to Acadêmicos do Grande Rio from Duque de Caxias in Rio de Janeiro, that are finally the champions of Rio’s carnival scoring 269.9 points out of a possible 270.

Grande Rio had just missed out in 2020′ and on three other occasions. Beija-Flor came second with 269.6; and Viradouro, champions in 2020, third with 269.4.

Full results were of Rio’s Carnival Parade in 2022 were:

  1. Grande Rio (269.6 out of 270) 
  2. Beija-Flor (269.4)
  3. Viradouro (269.4)
  4. Vila Isabel (269.2)
  5. Portela (269.1) 
  6. Salgueiro (268.3) 
  7. Mangueira (268.2) 
  8. Mocidade (268.2)
  9. Unidos da Tijuca (267.8)
  10. Imperatriz Leopoldinense (266,7) 
  11. Paraíso do Tuiuti (266.4) 
  12. Sao Clemente (263.7)

You can see phots of the parade from DAY ONE and DAY TWO at Critical Divide’s “Rio: The Guide”.

It is also congratulations to Império Serrano, one of Rio’s most traditional schools that has been parading since  1948, that has been promoted from Grupo Série Ouro, or the Grupo de Acesso, and will parade with the other 11 top schools in Rio in the Groupo Especial in 2023. São Clemente has been relegated in their place.

The next parades are scheduled for Sunday, 19 February and Monday, 20 February 2023.

Despite only coming 7th this year, Estação Primeira de Mangueira continues to be the top ranked samba school in Rio de Janeiro based on the results of the last five parades.
The top 12 ranked samba schools in Rio are now:
  1. Mangueira (62 points)
  2. Portela (60)
  3. Salgueiro (48)
  4. Mocidade (36)
  5. Beija-Flor (49)
  6. Viradouro (27)
  7. Grande Rio (34)
  8. Unidos da Tijuca (25)
  9. Vila Isabel (28)
  10. Paraíso do Tuiuti (18)
  11. Imperatriz Leopoldinense (14)
  12. União da Ilha do Governador (5)
  13. São Clemente (4)
Since 1985, and the first parade along the purpose built Sambódromo, 31 schools have paraded in the Grupo Especial.
Based on all those parades G.R.E.S Beija-Flor de Nilópolis, who came second this year, remain the top school and by a healthy margin.
The top ten samba schools in Rio since 1985 are:
  1. Beija-Flor (493 points)
  2. Salgueiro (346)
  3. Mangueira (320)
  4. Imperatriz Leopoldinense (316)
  5. Mocidade (280)
  6. Portela (237)
  7. Unidos da Tijuca (204)
  8. Vila Isabel (186)
  9. Grande Rio (195)
  10. Viradouro (186)

A Decade of “Brazil the Guide”

10 years ago in April 2012 we launched a labour of love, www.braziltheguide.com, which was followed two years later – in time for the 2014 FIFA World Cup – by the much more complete www.riotheguide.com

The reason we launched the sites was that we were and still do get consulted about Rio and Brazil on a weekly basis and this seemed an easier way of telling people where to find the information and share it. We were also often asked when we would update “The Insider’s Guide to Rio de Janeiro”, last published in print form in 1995, and the web sites seemed the obvious answer. #brazil #riodejaneiro

Ronnie Biggs’ Rio: No One is Innocent: Documentary

Business Doc Europe’s coverage of our Ronald Biggs documentary “Ronnie Biggs’ Rio: No One is Innocent” that we are currently making with TvZero and Canal Brasil for broadcast in 2023, the 60th anniversary of the “Great Train Robbery”.

Read Here

Festival do Rio returns with the support of Mayor Eduardo Paes

As Rio de Janeiro emerges from the global pandemic, 9 December 2021, saw the return of its premiere annual film event with the opening of the 23rd Festival do Rio, Rio International Film Festival with the Brazilian premiere of Pedro Almodóvar’s Parallel Mothers. Festival do Rio returns this year with the full support of the Mayor and city of Rio de Janeiro, as well as live audiences

“Our mission,” the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, explains “is to re-build Rio’s role in the audiovisual sector and strengthen the sector with investment, which we have already started to do. Rio as a city depends a lot on culture, as it helps to build the history and identity of our city and our people. Festival do Rio is one of the pillars of our renaissance on both the national and world stage.”

From 9 to 19 December 2021 the cinema going public in Rio de Janeiro has the opportunity to see both international and domestic Brazilian films. They include award-winners, some of the years most talked about and commented on productions, and rarities from the archives. The public also get to participate in debates, special sessions and lectures.

Navigating its way back after an absent year, this year’s edition is a compact  one, with 25 centre-pieces with sights on returning to a full-length edition in 2022 and new banner sponsors.

Première Brasil remains one of the most anticipated and popular sections of the festival, and the main competitive section that offers an important shop window for Brazilian cinema both internationally and domestically. Première Brasil also gives the audiences in Rio the chance to see the films and then meet and talk with the filmmakers and actors. The public also votes for the best film in the categories of fiction, documentary and short, while an official jury awards the festival’s Redentor trophy across a diverse range of categories from the films in official competition. In total 71 Brazilian films drawn from features  and shorts will screen across Rio in the Première Brasil section during the festival

 

“This year’s selection,” says festival director Ilda Santiago,”shows a strong Brazilian cinema, full of reflection which, despite far from ideal conditions, is ready to reclaim its place with the cinema going public.”

Among international highlights this year are Joe Wright’s Cyrano and Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, both of which are receiving their Brazilian premieres. Also screening are this year’s Palme d’Or winner, Julia Ducournau’s Titanealong with Céline Sciamma’s Petite Maman; Radu Jude’s winner of Berlin’s Golden Bear, Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn; Apichatpong Weerasethakul MemoriaPaul Verhoeven’s Benedetta; Andrea Arnold’s Cow; Nanni Moretti’s Three Floors; and Woody Allen’s most recent offering, Rifkin’s Festival, that premiered during the recent San Sebastian Film Festival.

Brazilian directors with films screening during Festival do Rio include Júlio Bressane, Karim Aïnouz, Bruno Barreto, Luiz Carlos Lacerda, Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas, Luiz Carlos Lacerda, Murilo Salles, Laís Bodanzky, and many others.

The work of Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai will be in the spotlight with the screening of five of the director’s most acclaimed films that have been restored by the director in partnership with MUBI. The festival also celebrates the 70th anniversary of the French film magazine “Cahiers du Cinéma” with the screening of some classic French works from Louis Malle, Robert Bresson, Chris Marker, Eric Rohmer, René Laloux, Jacques Rivette, Jean-Luc Godard and Costa-Gavras, as well as an exhibition of the magazine.

Veja Rio’s best restaurants 2021

In 1997 Veja Rio launched its excellent restaurant and bar guide “Comer & Beber”, which also chooses its best restaurants and bars in Rio for the year (it does the same for São Paulo). The list of the city’s best for Rio 2021 are:

  • Contemporary Brazilian: Oteque (Botafogo)
  • Barbecue / Churrascaria Rodizio: Churrascaria Palace (Copacabana)
  • Seafood: Escama (Jardim Botanico)
  • French: L’Etoile – Sheraton Rio (Leblon)
  • Italian: Grado (Jardim Botanico)
  • Pizza: Ferro e Farinha (Catete / Botafogo / Leblon)
  • Portuguese: Gajos D’Ouro (Ipanema)
  • Asian: Spicy Fish (Ipanema)
  • Japanese: San (Leblon)
  • Hamburger: Sabor D.O.C. (Leblon)
  • Veagan: Ganic Lab (Barra)
  • Gastropub: Pope (Ipanema)
  • Botequim / Bar: Bafo da Prainha
  • Cheap & Cheerful: Cantón (Copacabana)
  • Ice Cream: Mil Frutas (Ipanema / Leblon / Jardim Botanico / São Conrado / Barra)
  • Breakfast: Café 18 do Forte (Copacabana)
  • Kiosk: De Lamare (Posto 8 – Ipanema)
  • Best Terrace: Boteco Belmonte (Ipanema)

13th Brazilian Convention & Visitors Bureau Congress

The 13th Brazilian Convention & Visitors Bureau Congress will bring the Brazilian travel and tourism industry and authorities together over two days on 17 and 18 June 2021 (via video conferencing) to look at the challenges facing the industry as it works to reset itself post pandemic. 

While domestic tourism has held up quite well in Brazil over the past 18 months, when allowed to operate, international visitors have been very limited as travel between Brazil and rest of the world has been severely restricted and continues to be so.

The conference, organised by the Brasil Convention & Visitors Bureaux (BC&VB), will emphasise the growing importance of tourism to many areas of Brazil, and look at the challenges to be faced by the accommodation and aviation sectors post pandemic, flights being of key importance to a country the size of Brazil. Sustainable transport is on the agenda, and the participants will also hear about the current global situation for travel and tourism and how other destinations are looking to re-launch and open when it is safe to do so.

Via the magic of Zoom Critical Divide’s Christopher Pickard has the honour of giving his view of world events in a presentation entitled “O Mercado Global de Turismo – um olhar na realidade.” (The Global Tourism Market: A Reality Check).

Brazil – COVID-19 – Carnival 2021

As in many countries, COVID-19 has had a major and disruptive impact on life in Brazil and in Rio de Janeiro.

Given the size of the population, and the country, Brazil has had one of the highest number of COVID cases and deaths in the world after the US, and access to and around the country has been restricted. As a result a number of hotels, restaurants, bars, stores, attractions, and even beaches, have been closed or offer limit access. So please check before you plan a visit to Brazil or Rio for leisure purposes. We are trying to update our sites at Rio: The Guide and Brazil: The Guide just as soon as it is clear which businesses have re-opened and survived.

It also looks as if there will be major disruption to Rio’s carnival in 2021 with few or none of the major parades and group activities taking place.  If you want to truly experience carnival in Rio, or any other part of Brazil, you will be better to wait until 2022. 

40 Years On: Frank Sinatra in Rio de Janeiro

40 years ago, in January 1980, the unlikely figure of the Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra, arrived in Rio de Janeiro. He landed on 21 January at Rio’s international airport to be the star attraction at the opening of a new five star hotel on Rio’s Copacabana Beach, the Rio Palace. A property that has been recently renovated and is now the Fairmont Rio.

Sinatra had been brought to Rio by the head of the Artplan advertising agency, Roberto Medina, a name familiar now as the man behind the famous Rock in Rio festivals. But it is unlikely that without the visit of Sinatra in 1980 that Rock in Rio would ever have taken place five years later, or that the gates would have opened for other major performers and artists to come to Brazil.

Medina had already worked with Sinatra, having used Ol Blue Eyes in an advert for the Brazilian bottled Scotch Whisky, Passport. Medina had also used David Niven and Burt Bacharach as part of the campaign. Sinatra also had his own links to Brazil having performed and recorded an album with Tom Jobim in 1967, which they followed up with a second in 1969.

Medina paid Sinatra a reported US$1 million for five shows in Rio. Four of these would be for an exclusive nightly audience of just 700 in the Rio Palace’s ballroom on the 22, 23, 24 and 25 of January 1980. The fifth show was altogether more ambitious, a stadium show on Saturday, 26 January at the Maracanã Stadium, which would also be broadcast in Brazil on TV Globo.

The shows at the Rio Palace were the place to be and be seen in Brazil that week of January 1980 (each ticket costing over US$1,000), and did what they were intended to do by putting the hotel on the map, both in Brazil and internationally. Few hotels outside of Las Vegas had the clout to attract Sinatra.

The famous concert at the Maracanã Stadium nearly did not take place, however, due to the weather. It was an open stage located right in the centre of the pitch. The special seats on the grass, closest to the uncovered stage, had been the first to sell out at US$160 each, with tickets in the stands costing just US$6.

Due to the persistent rain on the Friday and through Saturday, it was impossible to mic and wire the orchestra, and for a time it looked as if the concert would be called off and fall foul to the weather. And there was no back up date as Sinatra had to return to the US.

At 21.00, on the night of 26 January, Sinatra walked on stage just as the rain stopped and performed to the largest crowd of his career, 175,000 people, a crowd that went into the Guinness Book of record as the largest paying audience for a single act.

 

In honour of Brazil, Sinatra started with “The Coffee Song” which he followed by his repertoire of hits including “The Lady is a Tramp”, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”, “Someone To Watch Over Me”, “My Way”, “Strangers In the Night”, which the crowd sang with Sinatra when he appeared to forget the lyrics, and his new hit that year, “New York, New York”. In all Sinatra performed for one hour and forty-five minutes.

Not only were Sinatra’s shows in Rio historic, but it showed that Brazil could hold major concerts. Sinatra was followed at Maracanã by Sting, Tina Turner, Kiss, Madonna, The Police, The Rolling Stones, Roger Waters, and the Pope, no-less, and in 1991 Medina’s own Rock in Rio II with headline acts such as Prince, Santana, George Michael, Guns’n Roses, A-ha! and INXS among others. But it was to be Sir Paul McCartney who, on another wet Saturday, would break Sinatra’s record for the paying public for a single act, when he sold an estimated 180,000 tickets for his show at the Maracanã

Sinatra was to return to play Brazil one more time, in August 1981 when he played the Maksoud Plaza hotel in São Paulo.

Anglo-Brazilian Society / Anglo-Portuguese-Society Joint reception

The Anglo-Brazilian Society and the Anglo-Portuguese Society hosted a very special evening for members, friends and guests at the residence of the Portuguese Ambassador, to London, HE Manuel Lobo Antunes, on Monday 2 December. The societies joined forces to celebrate Christmas and the year end in style. A great way to start the Festive season.

Guest included the Portuguese Ambassador and senior diplomats from both embassies. Baroness Hooper, who is a senior member of both the Portuguese and Brazilian All Party Parliamentary groups, was present, as was Sir Peter Heap, an ex-British Ambassador to Brazil and a board member of the ABS.

The evening offered the tastes and flavours of both Brazil and Portuguese. Brazilian chef, Luciana Berry worked with the team at the Portuguese Ambassador’s residence to prepare the food that reflected both countries, while Portuguese wines and Brazilian caipirinhas were served. Brazilian musician Aleh Ferreira performed a selection of bossa nova and MPB favourites.

Chris Pickard of Critical Divide is chair of the Anglo-Brazilian Society and Sandro Carito of Carito International is chair of the Anglo-Portuguese Society.