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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Important, moving documentary about a true hero
6 October 2011 | by (US) – See all my reviews

Tremendously moving documentary of the life and death (in a 2003 Iraq suicide bombing) of a true hero. Sergio de Mello, a dashing, handsome man who devoted his life to the United Nations and trying to save people and bring peace to troubled regions.

He was described by one person as a combination of James Bond and Bobby Kennedy, and that certainly seems apt.

Unafraid to talk directly with 'the bad guys' in a situation, whether the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia or militants in Iraq, he believed in hearing out all sides, not just imposing dictates. And he went to Iraq in spite of opposing the war, because he thought just maybe he could help the occupation end sooner, and return Iraq to its citizens.

The film cleverly (and harrowingly) intercuts an overview of Sergio's career, and the hours after a car bomb explodes outside his office in Iraq, as woefully under equipped American forces try desperately and heroically to save him.

If I have any complaint at all it's that as powerful and emotional as the struggle to save Sergio is, I would have traded some minutes of that very completely told story to learn more about his life as a brilliant, tough, gentle fighter for the oppressed. I felt some frustration that the story of who the man was seemed to get a little short changed next to the more immediately dramatic story of how he died. Maybe I just wish the film were 20 minutes longer. But, in a world filled with empty, time wasting stories, what a wonderful thing to be able to wish for.


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