By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Last Thursday, April 5th, the Biblioteca Parque da Rocinha (Rocinha Library Park) inaugurated two cinematic projects on the same day, both of which aim to screen one film either weekly or fortnightly to the residents of Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro’s largest favela community.
The first film of the day was the children’s animated feature ‘As Aventuras do Pequeno Colombo,’ (The Adventures of Little Colombo) which inaugurated the CinePipoca project. CinePipoca aims to show a children’s film every Thursday at 2PM for the favela community’s younger residents, complete with free popcorn upon entrance.
The next film was ‘Just Like Our Parents,’ which was also introduced by the leading actress, Maria Ribeiro. This film inaugurated another cinematic project called ‘Cine Rocinha,’ which will screen a different film for adults and young people fortnightly, on Thursdays at 6PM, followed by an audience discussion.
Cine Rocinha is the brainchild of actress Maria Ribeiro, as well as actress and producer Renata Paschoal and Rio de Janeiro’s Superintendent for Audiovisual Projects, José Roberto Gifford. Before the event, Maria Ribeiro posted a summary of how the project came to fruition.
“I started coming to Rocinha because of my beloved beautician. Later, living in Sao Conrado, I began to be very uncomfortable with the apartheid of the neighborhood, and with the fact that almost nobody from the asphalt knows the largest favela in Latin America.”
She claims that it was another actor, Caio Blat, who originally had the idea of opening a cinema in Rocinha, but that, “I got involved in the reopening of the library, and I proposed that once a week we would show movies there, always debating with the audience afterwards. And then it worked. I was called in by the secretary of culture, and now on Thursday we will begin our weekly sessions.”
While the CinePipoca film for next Thursday is yet to be confirmed, the film showing for Cine Rocinha will be ‘Meu Dois Amores’ (My Two Loves) on 19th April, which will be introduced by the stars Caio Blat and Maria Flor, who will also be participating in the after show discussion.
This is another promising turn of events since the library was reopened on February 19th after a year of closure. Especially during a time when Rocinha is suffering from unprecedented levels of violence.