From the AV Room: Baby Brasília

Inaugurated in 1960 as Brazil’s brand-spanking-new capital, Brasília was built on a high, semi-arid plateau in the mid-western region of the country to bring money and people into the vast and empty interior. The city has certainly filled-out since these images were filmed, but it’s interesting to see life in my retro-futuristic home base during its first few years of existence.

Mostly what you see are government buildings and dormitory-style apartment blocks, punctuated by the twin towers of Congress, with the curved concrete spires of the unfinished cathedral shown toward the end. The soil here is the same red “Jawjah” clay many of us Southerners know well, though the film was recorded in the dry season (it’s crazy wet these days, so the city’s very much green), and you can see why Brasília’s a bitch for pedestrians. Government salaries were tripled to get people to move with their families from the old capital, Rio, and there’s a definite difference in dress and appearance between the stylish denizens of the new city proper and those at the bus terminal who came from other regions of the country to help build the place, but had to live in the poorer, far-flung satellite cities of the Federal District.

And it’s not boring, folks. Really.

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