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Rio Breaks - (Mr Bongo Films) (2009) [DVD]

Justin Mitchell    Exempt   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £9.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Directors: Justin Mitchell
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Portuguese, English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Mr Bongo Films
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Oct 2011
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004VMBM78
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 66,805 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Surfing at Rio de Janeiro's Arpoador Beach is a way of life with its own community and specific rituals, such as showing young surfers Fabio and Naama, the secret breaking points on the seafront. The surfers, trainers and the children, all come from the hills of Rio in shantytowns called favelas. In a city which bears it class divide on its very topography, the beach serves as an authentic melting point where people across class and age barriers can meet and gather. It provides the closest normal life Fabio and Naama can share. Fabio, having lost his father to the gang war which terrorizes the favelas, finds succor through the help of his friends at the Arpoador Beach Surfing Club.

Based on a 2004 article by Vince Medeiros for Surfer's Path magazine, Rio Breaks eschews the conventional sports documentary narrative. It places surfing in relation to what it means to people in their daily life. Working as his own cinematographer, director Justin Mitchell makes use of digital video to intimately convey the society and world of two close childhood friends bonded by their love for surfing, their desire for escape and search for a better world.

Review

Gentle, touching and beautifully captured, this is the best surfing documentary since Riding Giants --Total Film

A poignant study of the Rio kids who see breaking waves as the only escape from a short life of crime with a favela drug gang --Empire

Moving... a new wave of real life films --Mirror4/5

A poignant study of the Rio kids who see breaking waves as the only escape from a short life of crime with a favela drug gang --Empire

Moving... a new wave of real life films --Mirror4/5

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Format:DVD
Although I know absolutely nothing about surfing, I can tell you that Justin Mitchell's documentary Rio Breaks gives us a different look on the sport. Taking place on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, we get a peek at what it is like living in Brazil. Rio Breaks shows us what it is like from the perspective of young people, mostly focusing on two young boys (Fabio and Naama) that get interested in surfing.

As this film shows us, there are those that come from the hills and those that come from the concrete, but on the beach they are pretty much all equal. The hills are poorer and drug trafficking is the temptation that young people there must resist. Easy money and a young death isn't completely appealing, so some do see other options. Fabio and Naama see surfing as a way to a better life for themselves and their families.

Although getting into the sport isn't easy, there is a surfing club that mentors the kids. The club provides them with free lessons and even lets them use their boards. The mentors know it isn't easy for these kids and wants to help them out as much as they can. With Fabio being just thirteen and Naama being just twelve, they make mistakes and still have a long way to go in their maturity, causing a lot of their own problems too. As you will see for yourself, that while they are friends, they also fight a lot and could do more to help each other out.

While a few parts are narrated in English, all of those interviewed speak Portuguese (with English subtitles), so I would consider this a Brazilian movie. We are taken into another culture and life for a short while with Rio Breaks. Albeit not everything is pleasant, the message of hope is quite inspiring.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Hum... not bad, but not a must-see 18 Feb 2012
By phj
Format:DVD
From what I saw in the critics, I was waiting for something way much better! It is not bad, but some parts seem a little bit fake for a documentary. Hard to tell if director told guys to say that or the guys were simply exagerating.
As a Brazilian, it sucks a bit to hear some stuff, like if it was a common thing for people to leave work earlier to go surfing. It lost my credibility at this point.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable! Awesome and highly recommended! 24 Sep 2010
By Dennis A. Amith (kndy) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
For many kids living in the favela (slums) of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, growing up in the area means a volatile life, a life of poverty, as many of the kids become drug traffickers or simply don't live a long life as drug wars and wars between the police and one of the many drug gangs that are fully armed and ready to take on the police and rival gangs and many people, children end up dying.

This is the life of those living in the favela (there are around 700 of them in Brazil) and this has been going on since the 18th Century in Brazil where former slaves with no land or jobs have settled and later on, people from another town or from the countryside have moved to a larger city in hopes to find a better living and job, but for many, the good life that they have searched for have become fruitless and many have moved to the favela, where many of the poor reside.

But minutes from these Favela in Rio is Arpoador Beach and for many children, a few who grow up in the Favela do Cantagalo who are able to stay away from trouble by going to the beach, away from the favela and surf.

"Rio Breaks" is a documentary by Justin Mitchell (know for directing videos for Death Cab for Cutie) and co-written by Mitchell, Vince Medeiros and John Maier and focuses on two children who live in the favela near Arpoador Beach and surf on the beach to stay away from trouble.

Thirteen-year-old Fabio is a boy that is passionate about surfing but he is also a boy who has had a hard life. His father who was part of a drug gang wanted out of the gang and thus he was killed and dropped over the cliff. His mother was never part of his life and thus Fabio looks towards surfing as a way for him to get out of the favela and hopefully win competitions and earn sponsorships. But things are not easy for Fabio, he's doesn't go to school and he has a short temper and can get a bit mischievous and can easily get into trouble.

Meanwhile, 12-year-old Naama is a friend of Fabio and enjoys surfing and bodyboarding. He also has a hard life as he lives in the favela but unlike Fabio, Naama has big dreams. He wants to study hard in school, surf, dreams of going to Hawaii because he can't believe people surf enormous waves and also dreams of riding a helicopter. But Naama is wise for a young boy. His brother who was a surfer but also a drug trafficker was killed by the police when he was coming home with some detergent and a DVD. Because his family is not making much money, his brother tried to make money selling drugs and ended up getting killed.

But this is the life of the favela. Someone's life is always taken, someone always dies and a child is easily corrupted and ends up joining one of the many drug gangs in the favela and ends up as a trafficker or one of their soldiers.

But there are a few people in the favela who want to make sure that all children are not corrupted and that is where surfer Rogerio and his friends come in. Rogerio and friends run the Favela Surf Club. They lend out surfboards to kids to go out and surf. And also training them and preparing them for competition. Their main rules are study hard in school and practice your surfing and they are full aware that some of the kids will stay true to those rules but also know how things are in the favela and know how some kids can easily get into trouble and can easily be corrupted.

Director/cinematographer Justin Mitchell shows us how life is for Fabio, Naama, Rogerio and a few others who surf or have had children or friends who have surfed but were easily corrupted by the drugs or joined a drug gang and were killed, shot or serving time in prison. But to show us that no matter how bleak things are, there are people out there who are willing to show you the light, a better life if you want it. There is hope!

VIDEO:

"Rio Breaks" is presented in 1:78:1. Justin Mitchell does a fantastic job with his coverage in the water, on the beach as he showcases the Favela Surf Club members surfing or just beautiful shots of Rio de Janeiro to give us the glimpse of the lives of those who are living in the Favela do Cantagalo. Cinematography was very well-done and character positioning and just capturing the ups and downs of the two children were well-done.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

"Rio Breaks" is presented in Portuguese Dolby Digital with English subtitles. Dialogue is clear and understandable, subtitles were easy to read and the documentary also features cool music!

SPECIAL FEATURES:

"Rio Breaks" comes with the following special features:

* Bonus Scenes - A total of eight deleted scenes: Kids on the Roof, Dengue Fever, Kevin Skips School, Favela Surf Clube, Simao Romao, Maicon, Surf vs. Study, Party at Fia's
* Trailers - Featuring the original fund-raising trailer for "Rio Breaks"(formerly titled "Favella Breaks", 6:57) which was shot in 2005 by Justin Mitchell who interviews a few surfers including Rogerio (and the Favela Surf Club) on the life of people in the Favela and those who have turned to surfing to stay away from the trouble. Also, included is "Trailer 2 (Final)" (1:19), the original theatrical trailer for "Rio Breaks".
* `Living Cantagalo' - (6:52) In 2006, Justin Mitchell spent a few days living with Rogerio in the Favela do Cantagalo to see what kind of footage he can capture on 35mm.

JUDGMENT CALL:

Although surfing films or documentaries about children who have surf and had troubled lives are nothing new for those of us in the US, rarely do we see how surfing is a way of life for many people in other countries and most of all, how surfing is a way to get people away from the volatile life of drug gangs, drug wars and showing children that they have choices.

"Rio Breaks" is a fantastic surfing documentary that really shows us the life of these surfers and children who grew up in the favela. I have watched many surfing films and surf documentaries but this is probably the deepest surf documentary I have seen in my life. Granted, "Dogtown and Z-Boys" was marvelous documentary of showing us how kids who didn't have much, using their talents to become something bigger but "Rio Breaks" was something that really surprised me because I was unaware that people were surfing not only for the fun of it but also as way to escape their lives in the favela, even for a few hours a day, there are kids who do it, are passionate about it but know that they can easily be swayed to join a drug gang in the promise of money and women.

But at the same time, with so many people, especially children getting killed, it's a daily situation where shootouts are common and so, during the day... for some kids, surfing is their life and possibly their way to get out of the favela.

As a viewer, you really want to see both 13-year-old Fabio and 12-year-old Naama come out strong from their life in the favela. Justin Mitchell does a wonderful job in following these young children for over a year and just see how they grow up and the things they face in life, that many of us in the US can't even imagine.

You look at Fabio and here is a kid who is stoked on surfing but yet, his father was killed by his own gang for trying to leave, his mother doesn't care about him, he doesn't go to school and doesn't have anyone out there to give him that love he needed when he was a kid. As much as his friend Naama and even Rogelio and the members of the Favela Surf Club try to help him and make sure he doesn't get into any trouble, this boy's life is on a thread. He doesn't want to be in a gang, he wants to be a better surfer like his idol Kelly Slater but he and the family are barely surviving as it is. So, despite his short temper, by watching this film, you root for him to see if he can avoid the trouble, avoid being corrupted and watch until the end to see the result.

But if anything, the child that you root for is the young Naama. Naama is not as passionate of surfing like Fabio but he does it. He learns it. But he does what it takes to make his family proud. He goes to school, he stays out of trouble but he has a good head on his shoulders to know what is right from wrong and even criticizes Fabio for being unruly at times.

But these kids are no different from other groms out there. They love Kelly Slater and their local hometown surfers, they play Kelly Slater's Pro Surfer on the PS2, they want to surf and have fun, they want to get better at surfing but the difference is that these kids live a life where violence is daily, where life of poverty is daily and know that the odds of them leaving and finding a good life for themselves is quite slim.

We see the two children with different dreams. Fabio centered towards surfing while Naama is much bigger. Wanting to ride a helicopter, wanting to get out of the favela and not ending up like his brother who was a drug trafficker and was killed by the police while carrying laundry detergent and a DVD. It's surprising to our eyes, as many of us who do surf are unaware of how bad things really are for other surfers especially those who live in the favela in Rio de Janeiro.

Justin Mitchell and crew did a fantastic job with "Rio Breaks" and it's definitely a documentary that one should watch. Beautiful cinematography, well-paced and one of the best surfing documentaries out there.

If there is one thing I have to add to this review that is related to the film, after you have watched "Rio Breaks", I highly recommended visiting the riobreaks website as you get to see what happens to Naama and his family and also to those of the Favela Surf Club after Luciano Huck (one of the host of Brazil's most popular TV shows) fell in love with the film. A happy ending for those who enjoyed the documentary!

Overall, "Rio Breaks" is a fantastic documentary and is highly recommended!
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Film 6 July 2014
By Skip - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Good movie and gives an interesting prospective of life in the hills of Rio.
5.0 out of 5 stars Rio Breaks gives us a different look on the sport 26 Feb 2012
By Richard J. Brzostek - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Although I know absolutely nothing about surfing, I can tell you that Justin Mitchell's documentary Rio Breaks gives us a different look on the sport. Taking place on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, we get a peek at what it is like living in Brazil. Rio Breaks shows us what it is like from the perspective of young people, mostly focusing on two young boys (Fabio and Naama) that get interested in surfing.

As this film shows us, there are those that come from the hills and those that come from the concrete, but on the beach they are pretty much all equal. The hills are poorer and drug trafficking is the temptation that young people there must resist. Easy money and a young death isn't completely appealing, so some do see other options. Fabio and Naama see surfing as a way to a better life for themselves and their families.

Although getting into the sport isn't easy, there is a surfing club that mentors the kids. The club provides them with free lessons and even lets them use their boards. The mentors know it isn't easy for these kids and wants to help them out as much as they can. With Fabio being just thirteen and Naama being just twelve, they make mistakes and still have a long way to go in their maturity, causing a lot of their own problems too. As you will see for yourself, that while they are friends, they also fight a lot and could do more to help each other out.

While a few parts are narrated in English, all of those interviewed speak Portuguese (with English subtitles), so I would consider this a Brazilian movie. We are taken into another culture and life for a short while with Rio Breaks. Albeit not everything is pleasant, the message of hope is quite inspiring.
5.0 out of 5 stars Good documentary 15 Jun 2011
By TyDarrow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The movie is put together well. It takes two kids from the hills of Rio and lets you see the world they live in. I thought it was rather intense at times just trying to imagine yourself in their shoes. I recommend the movie "city of god" for anyone that has not scene it. It will give you a look into what these kids in "Rio Breaks" are afraid of getting themselves into.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great documentary! 15 Nov 2010
By Julie from Santa Cruz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a great documentary about the favelas in Rio and the importance of sports (specifically soccer) in keeping kids off the streets, out of the hands of drug lords and in school.
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