For many of us, the idea of flying a kite involves stopping by a convenience store to purchase an inexpensive plastic kite emblazoned with a movie character, and heading over to the local park to launch it into the sky where it’s promptly swallowed by a tree. But for residents living in the crowded favelas of Rio de Janeiro, where resources and park space is scarce, flying kites is do or die. People of all ages take to the rooftops to fight with homemade kites using strings coated with wax and powdered glass in an attempt to cut the strings of competitors. Entire battles are fought between neighboring “turfs,” where real life conflicts between people and neighborhoods are settled through kite wars.
Filmmaker Guilherme Tensol, in collaboration with sports magazine Victory and Brazilian production company Mosquito Project, produced this stylized documentary short titled Kite Fight for the New York Times leading up to the World Cup a few weeks ago.