The NY Film Critics Series Spring Series recently screened the film Rio, I Love You. The film is the third episode of the Cities of Love franchise following Paris, Je T’Aime and New York, I Love You.
Rio, I Love You is a series of short films set in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro.
10 directors have come together to incorporate their short film as the 11th director strung the films together. The directors included Andrucha Waddington, Paolo Sorrentino, Fernando Meirelles, Stephan Elliott, John Turturro, Guillermo Arriaga, Sasoo Im, Carlos Saldanha, Jose Padilha, Nadine Labaki, and Vincente Amorim.
Each short film focuses on an encounter of love in different neighborhoods of the city. Each film had its own style incorporating different relationships including developing relationships, current relationships, and past relationships. There are several levels of relationships showcased in the film including family, couples, and strangers. From passion to loss, it is interesting to see how the characters connect.
One of the first encounters is a young man who is in search of his grandmother who lives on the streets. As they reconnect, he begs her to come home but she explains that she is happy living the life she is. At the end of their story, the two embrace in a fountain. The scene is filled with happiness, and laughter, showing true joy between the two.
A very unexpected storyline in the film consists of a man working as a waiter who is actually a vampire. His persona changes in the darkness as he spends his time with a woman whom he turns into a vampire. He leaves her and begins to walk the streets in the town. As he is walking, the camera moves past several windows of women who are also seen with fangs, followed by many people joining the man on the street for a song and dance as if they are celebrating.
One of the short films dealt more with visuals and music than dialogue. The man is at the beach, building in the sand while he watches people pass by. Each person passing by has a unique sound they make as they walk and there is one sound that has him fascinated. There is a woman who is wearing an ankle bracelet. He takes the inspiration he feels as he watches her walk by and listens to her distinct sound, he then decides to build a statue in the sand of her ankles with the anklets.
Not only did the film explore the relationships between characters, but also highlighted the beautiful panorama views of Rio. The views included the Sugarloaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer statue, and the beautiful beaches. The landscape is mesmerizing and draws you in.
One of the landscape moments that stands out is when a celebrity visits Rio and after getting off the plane is picked up at the airport by his driver. The celebrity does not want to be bothered with small talk and his number one goal is to get to his hotel until he spots Sugarloaf Mountain. He decides that the duo must climb it. The men struggle to make it to the top, but once they do it is magic. The city is a beautiful focal point that is absolutely breathtaking.
Following the screening there was a discussion about the film with Mark Ehrenkranz, producer of the NY Film Critics Series and Fabio Andrade. Fabio is a film critic, musician, screenwriter, and editor who was born in Brazil and now living in New York City. He has published work on film at Cinetica, which is a film critic and magazine as well as other publications.The discussion included a recap of each short film and how the city was showcased from the views including Sugarloaf Mountain and the cable cars overlooking the city. The audience also joined in on the conversation discussing their thoughts of the film and the characters.