By Sam Cowie, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Sunday, August 26th, saw the first screening of short movie “Bonde, o filme!” in Santa Teresa’s bohemian Largo de Guimaraes quarter, directed by British filmmaker and Rio resident of 35, years Vik Birkbeck. The film details last year’s tragic tram accident in Santa Teresa, which killed six people, including driver Seu Nelson and injured over fifty others on August 27, 2011.

Recent mural painting in Santa Teresa commemorating the iconic bonde, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Recent mural painting in Santa Teresa commemorating the iconic bonde, photo by Sam Cowie.

The bonde or ‘street car’ was a iconic public transport system of yellow trams that operated in the Santa Teresa neighborhood and was popular with residents and tourists alike. Although the exact causes of the accident still remain unknown, it has been widely speculated that the accident was caused by a combination of poor maintenance and overcrowding.

Since the crash, all bonde services have been suspended, depriving the Santa Teresa neighborhood of its traditional means of transport. Bonde, o filme! features scenes from the direct aftermath of the incident. This raw footage was captured before the emergency services and the mainstream media arrived on the scene and observes the chaos and terror first hand.

The film then moves on to the subsequent protests outside of city hall and features interviews from some of Santa Teresa’s most famous (or infamous residents) as well as Marcelo Freixo, a main candidate in the upcoming Rio mayoral elections. Families of the victims also offer some heartbreaking words.

The film is about ten minutes long and marks the first year anniversary of the crash. Vik Birkbeck is a filmmaker and activist and has lived in Santa Teresa for nearly thirty years. Bonde, o filme! is her latest project.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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