As "doomed" as these Rio Olympics have been painted for months now, last Friday night’s opening ceremony at least went off without a hitch. Save for stateside folks angered by NBC’s tape delay and incessant commercial breaks, viewers were treated to a spectacle filled with dazzling fireworks, the long but long-awaited Parade of Nations, and of course, a striking retelling of Brazil’s story, from the astounding rainforest at its core to the cities that came long after.
Working with reportedly one-twelfth of the budget for London’s opening ceremony and one-twentieth of what was spent for Beijing’s, Brazilian filmmaker and director of Rio’s show Fernando Meirelles cleverly chose to invest in a powerful, versatile projection system that could conjure both Amazonian ecosystems and busy cityscapes to marvelous effect.
Perhaps the most impressive example of this comes in the clip below, in which performers jump across buildings, seemingly rising at at a thrilling, startling pace. And at the end of this sequence, we see a large physical set made of climbable boxes stacked to represent the Brazilian city. Projections would further turn this structure into a vibrant, ever-changing stage.