Shot in Brazil over a five year period, O Zelador explores the life of Mestre Russo who lives with his family in the intimidating Baixada Fluminese neighbourhood. At an early age Russo discovered the value of capoeira. The music, physical agility, self-defence and philosophy of this Afro-Brazilian cultural manifestation helped Russo endure a life fraught with poverty and danger. Master Russo was part of a group of youths who created the now famous capoeira street roda of Caxias, located in Rio de Janeiro's tough suburbs. This traditional manifestation of capoeira has passed through three decades, including Brazil's difficult military dictatorship years, emerging today as a unique example of this Afro-Brazilian culture.