A look at the life and work of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and the rescue operation when he was trapped and injured by a bomb explosion at UN headquarters in Baghdad.

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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Charismatic, charming and complex, Sergio Vieira de Mello was the world's go-to guy, a man who could descend into the most dangerous places, charm the worst war criminals, and somehow protect the lives of the ordinary people to whom he'd devoted his life. SERGIO tells the story of his most treacherous mission ever...a mission in which his own life hangs in the balance. Written by Anonymous

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January 2009 (USA)  »

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Chasing the Flame  »

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Beautiful and haunting story
12 April 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I saw SERGIO at an advance screening in Boston, at a memorial for its editor Karen Schmeer. The film is an incredibly moving and suspenseful story of long-time UN diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who was trapped after a massive bomb blast on UN headquarters in Iraq in 2003 – the dawning of the violent insurgency that was to spread rapidly and viciously in the following years.

The film details the harrowing events of that day, as two US paramedics/EMT soldiers recount the extraordinary and terrifying extremes undertaken to try to save Sergio and his colleague Gil Loescher, who were half-buried in the depths of the ruins of the UN building (powerfully recreated – think Touching the Void).

SERGIO beautifully balances the ordeal of that day with the life of Sergio – interviewing family and colleagues, weaving in news and archival footage – following Sergio's personal successes and failures, and his inspiring career as a peacemaker and humanitarian working on behalf of refugees from Cambodia to Kosovo to East Timor. Particularly powerful are interviews with his girlfriend Carolina Larriera, with whom Sergio was about to return to Brazil to begin a new life.

Sergio the man is a dashing, charismatic, complicated, awe-inspiring figure – part Gandhi, part James Bond. What could have been a totally boring biopic is instead a riveting and inspiring story of love, loss, and rebirth. An outstanding film.


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