Review: Closeup Views of Host Cities

Even if you don’t care about soccer, you might be curious about six very different Brazilian cities that will host the upcoming matches and, in the case of Rio de Janeiro, the Summer Olympics in two years.

A great introduction to the people and sights of Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Brasília, Manaus, Salvador and Recife comes via the 30-minute documentary Soccer Cities on BBC World News. The BBC’s clever hexacopter camera captures aerial views of the new stadiums and other urban and rainforest landscapes, and trails behind kids “free running” through empty areas of the pre-planned capital city Brasilia and mountain biking down narrow sloping alleyways in Rio. The visuals are fantastic and BBC Brasil’s knowledge of the people and politics bring us average folks who are both proud of and frustrated with their country. I loved asides about handicapped kids taking “bototherapy” swimming sessions with river dolphins in Manaus and about bouncy Frevo dancers in Recife, practicing an art invented by African slaves.

Soccer Cities will air on BBC World News on Saturday, June 14, at 5:30 and 10:30 p.m. (This was story was updated to correct the first airtime.)

Kent Gibbons

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.