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10%: What Makes a Hero? (2013)

Award-winning director Yoav Shamir (Defamation, Checkpoint) sets out on an entertaining and insightful international quest, exploring the notion of heroism through a multi-faceted lens. ... See full summary »

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Award-winning director Yoav Shamir (Defamation, Checkpoint) sets out on an entertaining and insightful international quest, exploring the notion of heroism through a multi-faceted lens. From ordinary heroes to freedom fighters, primates to humans, behavioral scientists to geneticists, even Ayn Rand to Raelians, Shamir leaves no stone unturned, and along the way unveils the fundamental truths of human nature. Written by Yoav Shamir Films

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2013 (Israel)  »

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10% Ma Hofech Adam LeGibor  »

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The deepest and most serious comedy on human nature ever
14 December 2013 | by See all my reviews

Yoav Shamir tries to find out what makes a hero and if it is possible for him to become one himself. He travels all over the world to find the answer to this question. He does this by talking to heroes, the family of those heroes and authorities on the subject.

The first scenes of the documentary are weird, to say the least. It starts with a short introduction on how he came up with the question in the first place and an interview with his mother, alternated with simple, animated sketches. Especially the way he interact with his mother makes it easy to mistake Shamir for an amateur movie maker. After the interview, for example, when she steps into an elevator, he shouts after her that he won't come to visit her next week, because he'll be in Africa.

Looks can be deceiving though. This amateurish approach is quite clearly done for two reasons: it widens the gap between Shamir and our idea of a hero and it makes the whole documentary hilarious. Humour is one of the strongest points of the documentary. The animated sketches depict often surreal scenes, yet they are all based off of real events. Combined with the aforementioned amateurish approach and the inclusion of scenes that would never have seen the screen in another documentary makes it impossible not to laugh.

Underneath the humor is a far more serious story. While the interview with his mother isn't the last interview that's mainly entertaining, there are quite some serious stories as well. The second world war and the war in Shamir's home country, Israël, are also comprehensively discussed.

The total product is a hilarious yet serious documentary. It's perfect for people who want to know both the beauty and the horror of human nature, but can't stomach the tragedy seen in most movies about the second world war or other, more recent, wars.


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