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Q&A: Director Fernando Meirelles

Fernando Meirelles

The Brazilian director is best known for his visually arresting films, such as 2002’s City of God, set in a Rio de Janeiro favela. His newest, 360, with Jude Law and Rachel Weisz, goes global. Shot in five different countries, it touches on the Arab Spring, euro crisis, and prostitution.

Q: You were filming on the road for almost 20 weeks. Any favorite hotels?
A:
We were in London for three months, so I rented an apartment. But I like Hazlitt’s Hotel ($$$). You get a key to the front door, and it’s like your own home. In Vienna, we stayed at the 25hours Hotel Wien (1-3 Lerchenfelder Str.; $). There are bicycles for guests, and the staff doesn’t wear uniforms. After a week or two, we were hanging out with the hotel crew.

Q: What were a few of your favorite off-set activities?
A:
In Vienna, I’d walk around the Naschmarkt and buy bread and pastries. Or I’d get on my bike and ride thirty minutes out of the city toward Klosterneuburg, where I’d be surrounded by grapevines and winemakers. You can drink good local wine almost anywhere you stop.

Q: And how do you spend your downtime back in Brazil?
A:
I have a farm north of São Paulo, in Rifaina, where I’m creating a personal rain forest, planting 12,000 trees every year. I hope to plant 500,000. I also love the town of Alto Paraíso. It means “high paradise.” People say it has the best energy in the world. It’s all about yoga, massage, crystal therapies, trekking, and waterfalls.

Hotel Pricing Key
$ Less than $200
$$ $200 to $350
$$$ $350 to $500
$$$$ $500 to $1,000
$$$$$ More than $1,000

Photo © Rune Hellestad / Corbis

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