I thought that with the recent excitement about Rio de Janeiro being nominated as the host for the 2016, it would be a great opportunity to look at the darker side of the city. Despite its reputation for fun and opulence, Rio is a city dominated by the favelas or slums that surround the city which serve as hubs for organized crime, drug trafficking, arms trafficking, and prostitution. Recently violence has rocked the city as 32 people have died since this weekend in fighting between Rio police and heavily-armed gangs that battle over lucrative turf within the favelas. The fact that 3 policemen were killed when gang members brazenly shot down (yes- shot down) their helicopter in Rio shows how powerful the favela gangs really are.
If you want a realistic view into the amount of crime and violence that plagues Rio de Janeiro, I would strongly suggest the movie City of God which depicts the rise of organized crime by focusing on fictional criminals, and Tropa de Elite which focuses on the BOPE, the elite military police unit assigned to battle the most dangerous gangs in Rio.