6.5/10
133
5 user 9 critic

The Hero (2004)

O Herói (original title)
A 20-year veteran of the Angolan civil war returns to the capital city of Luanda where he faces the challenges of assimilation and survival.

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3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Makena Diop ...
Vitorio (as Oumar Makena Diop)
Milton 'Santo' Coelho ...
Manu
Maria Ceiça ...
Maria Bárbara aka Judite
Patrícia Bull ...
Joana
Neuza Borges ...
Flora
Raúl Rosário
Prospero Joao
Orlando Sérgio ...
Minister
Fernando Lupach ...
(as Fernando Ferreira)
...
Rute
Miguel Hurst ...
Doctor Luís
Thierry Darrigrand ...
Doctor Thierry
Nelo Helder
Adelino Caracol
João Carlos Miguel
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Storyline

When he was 15, Vitório was recruited by Angolan army, where he would stay for two decades fighting. In his last mission, he was hit by a mine and lost a leg. After a long time waiting, he finally manages to secure a prothesis. With no job and unable to find his family, he faces indifference and mockery. One night, while sleeping on the street, somebody steals his prothesis. But he finds support on three people: the prostitute Judith, the boy Manu and Joana, Manu's teacher. Written by lukejoplin@infolink.com.br

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

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Details

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Release Date:

13 May 2004 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

A hős  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Hard times in Angola
29 October 2004 | by (London) – See all my reviews

Involving story of life in the Angolan capital Luanda. Vitório is a veteran of the liberation war and subsequent civil war, has lost a leg to a landmine and has to try and get by on the streets, while looking for work and love - trying to find a way to fit back into society.

Meanwhile Manu a schoolboy has his own struggles going on; brought up by his grandmother he wants to search for his father (missing in the war), gets involved in petty crime and tries to avoid the local hoodlums. His teacher Joana does her best to keep him in school.

Eventually all the characters' paths cross in a variety of ways.

The film is basically a portrait of Luanda as it tries to recover from years of war and disruption. People everywhere are trying to rebuild their lives, find missing friends or relatives and make ends meet. Obviously life is very hard for most, but considerably easier for others - mainly those in the government and their relatives.

This is the sort of film Ken Loach might make if he lived in Africa. Through the individual stories of the characters numerous political and social issues are teased out, for the most part with considerable subtlety. Class relations, the role of politics, the situation of women (and such women - phew...), the landmine issue (70,000 Angolans have lost limbs and much of the country is still mined) and the desperate struggle to survive are all woven in.

There are some stunning aerial shots of Luanda at the start and end of the film, but in general the camera serves the actors and the story rather than the other way round. The standard of acting is generally high. There's nothing groundbreaking in cinematic terms here, but the film is a valuable window into the daily life of a society and a continent normally represented in the Western media only by images of war and famine.


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