RIO DE JANEIRO – Carnival festivities came to a close early Tuesday at Rio de Janeiro’s Sambodromo with a representation of the gruesome reality afflicting Brazil.
For the first time, crude scenes were on display, portraying the ghastly reality of violence affecting millions of Rio de Janeiro “favela,” or shantytown, residents.
More than 70,000 attendees were shaken by the satire by Beija-Flor – Brazil’s foremost samba school – illustrating some of the most extreme situations afflicting the country.
The show featured representations of young victims in coffins, parents holding their dead children’s bodies, youngsters pointing guns at victims and even a portrayal of Michelangelo’s Pieta that featured a woman holding the body of a dead police officer.
“Oh, beloved Motherland, where are you?” was the soundtrack of this ruthless critique of Brazil’s social, political and religious system, calling out corrupt politicians, businessmen and preachers of all religions.
In a nod to the LGBT community, one of the floats featured drag queen Pablo Vittar and black funk singer Jojo Todynho.
Beija-Flor’s performance eclipsed the other five schools early Tuesday, the last day of Carnival.
The winning school will be announced on Wednesday, marking the official closure of Carnival.