Rio Breaks (2009) 1h 25min · Documentary · 21 September 2009
RIO BREAKS is more than just a film about surfing. It follows the story of two best friends, Fabio and Naama, as they navigate their way between the pitfalls of life in the slums and the joys of surfing on their favorite beach. Their goal: to win the contest and become professional surfers. Thirteen-year-old Fabio and 12-year-old Naama live at Favela do Pavao, an enormous slum near Arpoador Beach, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Pavao is home to Commando Vermelho (CV), or Red Command, one of Rio's most heavily armed drug gangs. It's the Red Command who sets the rules and regulates life in the community. Their presence is ubiquitous, with armed soldiers constantly patrolling the hills and regulating the various points of sale. Fabio lives in an area of the favela called Vietnam, the poorest and most violent part of the slum. When the police come up looking for traffickers, that's where they look - and shoot - first. Raised by illiterate grandparents, he cannot read or write and is not going to school. Fabio is a prime candidate to join CV and become yet another gun-toting teenager involved in Rio's drugs war. In fact, he already shows worrying signs: mouthing off to the police, bullying some of the younger surfers and threatening Naama. Naama lives around the corner from Fabio. Born under a bridge where he lived until he was three, he and his family moved to the favela 9 years ago. What will happen to these best friends? Will any of them win the contest? Will their own relationship survive Fabio's aggressive personality? Can surfing offer a way out for Fabio or will he follow in the footsteps of his dad and join the drug gang? This is the story of Rio Breaks. - Written by Justin Mitchell & Vince Medeiros
Director(s): Justin Mitchell
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