Docos shine light on Brazil World Cup

Oct 13, 2015 - 11:18 PM Last year's World Cup in Brazil may have been the "cup of cups" for soccer fans, but for Brazilian taxpayers, who forked out some $US11.5 billion ($A15.84 billion) for the month-long tournament, its legacy has proven negative, according to two new films.

"Brazil vs. Brazil" and "The March of the White Elephants" both shine a light on the dark underbelly of the mega-event for which thousands of poor people were removed from their homes and billions spent on state-of-the-art stadiums, some of which are now being used as parking lots or wedding venues.

The documentaries, which screened at the Rio Film Festival, come as Brazil enters the final stretch before next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and amid an unfurling corruption crisis at World Cup organiser FIFA.

"I think it was terrible for Brazilians," said Laura Colucci, a Sao Paulo native who co-produced "White Elephants" with her South African husband, Neil Brandt.

"They felt betrayed, they felt embarrassed, they felt defeated," said Colucci, adding that the harm wrought by the tournament has gone well beyond Brazil's 7-1 pummelling by Germany in the semi-finals.

In the year leading up to the 2014 tournament, many Brazilians were angered by the spiralling costs of preparations and the chronically woeful state of the country's public schools and hospitals.

Thousands took to the streets in the biggest protests in a generation.

But once the ball was rolling, most left politics aside and embraced Brazil's five-time champion national team and the chance to host soccer's biggest event.

"Brazil vs. Brazil" was directed by celebrated Brazilian director Marcos Prado, while "White Elephants" was made by documentarian Craig Tanner.

While both directors come from very different backgrounds, they both reach the same conclusion about what hosting the World Cup meant for Brazil.

Both films draw on interviews with anti-World Cup activists, academics, politicians and those forced out of their homes to make way for stadiums and other infrastructure.

They also show taxpayers were left to pay for stadiums that cost several times more than estimated, with some built in cities like the remote agricultural capital of Cuiaba, which does not have a first-division soccer team.

In some cities, including Rio, slum dwellers were pushed out of their homes, in principle to make room for parking lots or other facilities.

Today, without permanent tenants, those so-called "white elephant" stadiums are now playing host to the occasional wedding or are parking lots.

The only real winner from the 2014 World Cup, the films suggest, was FIFA.

The Zurich, Switzerland-based not-for-profit posted revenues of nearly $5 billion off the Brazil World Cup.

Images of top Brazilian officials including President Dilma Rousseff and her predecessor and mentor, Luiz Inacio Luiz da Silva, embracing FIFA head Josep Blatter and other FIFA top brass drew groans from the crowds at the Rio Film Festival.

Both the FIFA officials and the Brazilian leaders have suffered major reversals of fortune since the World Cup. Criminal probes on two continents into allegations of large-scale corruption helped forced last week's suspension of Blatter, who had reigned over FIFA for 17 years.

Source: AAP

No one has shouted yet.
Be the first!