Fascinating Portrait of Kite Fighting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

When I was little, me and my neighborhood friends used to throw half-bird-eaten plums at each other across my back lawn between the garage roof and the plum tree, yeah, but this right here is some next level play — in the crowded favelas of Rio de Janeiro, flying kites is more than a leisurely escape; it’s also a playful form of battle:

After futebol, soltar pipas, is Brasil’s most popular sport. In the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, pipa (kite) designs and airborne “cutting” strategies have been passed through generations, from rooftop to rooftop. Filmmakers Guilherme Tensol and Leandro HBL spent time in Rocinha, Rio’s largest favela, among its young pipa warriors and elder statesmen, absorbing their secrets and documenting their stories.

Watched that with a smile on my face. I love these mini-documentaries that show a different perspective of life, but facing reality of these kiters’ methods, this should be viewed as an activity filled with ignorance and I can only hope people are being responsible with their materials and that these young minds are being educated on the dangers of cerol or manja (manjha) — the name given to the mixture of industrial adhesive with ground powdered glass which is applied to the kite lines, making them abrasive and also deadly to the touch — because many innocent people have been hurt.


This blog avoids featuring human atrocities or graphic imagery, but sometimes to understand what is good, it helps to also understand what is bad — WARNING — the following pictures are of some bloody accidents of people coming into contact with neglected, modified, cerol/manja/glass-coated kite lines:

I won’t post any worse than that. You get the idea. Have fun and please be responsible.

~ by Fionnlagh on June 29, 2015.

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