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Fernando Meirelles carried the olympic torch in Ribeirão PretoFernando Meirelles carried the olympic torch in Ribeirão Preto

City of God director on the opening ceremony: ‘A unique experience’

(Rio de Janeiro, brpress) - While carrying the Olympic Torch, Fernando Meirelles says: “I have never done anything on this scale, and will never do so again in my life”.

(Rio de Janeiro, brpress) – “It was a lot of fun, a piece of cake”. These are the words Fernando Meirelles, one of the most renowned names in Brazilian cinema, used to describe the sensation of taking a break from his work on the opening ceremony for the Rio 2016 Games, on Friday (August 5) 8PM (Brasilia time), to carry the Olympic Torch. 

The director of award-winning film City of God (2002) took part in the torch relay in the town of Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo state. “I’ve been a part of this for some time now and carrying the torch is just another step in the process.” Meirelles has been directing all aspects of the opening ceremony carrying out the same job as the British director Danny Boyle did in London 2012. 

A unique experience

Actually he is one of three creative directors preparing the Games’ grand curtain raiser at the Maracanã Stadium. Meirelles, who is also known for international cult films, such as The Constant Gardener and Blindness, said working on the opening ceremony has been a unique experience. 

“I have never done anything on this scale, and will never do so again in my life,” he said. “Everything is very big, the stage is very big. Three billion people are expected to watch the ceremony. It’s a huge responsibility.” Meirelles is working with fellow Brazilian film directors Andrucha Waddington and Daniela Thomas to create the opening ceremony. 

For a master of audiovisual production intended for television and cinema screens, putting together a show in a wide open space like the Maracanã – built in 1950 to be the biggest stadium in the world –, with a live audience, is a different and challenging experience. Brazilian music and dance (by internationally known Brazilian choreographer Deborah Colker) are expected to be the highlights of the ceremony.

Sport’s power

A huge sports fan, Meirelles is confident that Brazil will produce its best yet Olympic performance at the Rio Games, which he believes will have a transformative effect. “Playing sports certainly unites people, it’s a path towards peace,” he said. “The Games were created for this and I really believe it helps.”

Bad mistake

This week, while working on the final arrangements for the opening ceremony – which is known very little about what actually will be staged –, Fernando Meirelles needed to reply to nonsense comments going viral in social media regarding the participation of Brazilian uber model Gisele Bundchen. 

“Apparently she will fake to be the victim of an armed robbery in Rio”, comments spread. Visibly upset about the bad intentions of the comments, Meirelles replied: “It is such a wrong and bad mistake. We understand people are getting mad about Rio 2016, but all I can say is that it will be a pretty unforgettable party”. Pelé is also expected to have a main role in Maracanã.

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