A group of young people with Down syndrome embark on a demanding trek through the Himalayas with their siblings. As they deal with physical and emotional challenges, unresolved conflicts ...
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A group of young people with Down syndrome embark on a demanding trek through the Himalayas with their siblings. As they deal with physical and emotional challenges, unresolved conflicts come to surface and heartwarming friendships develop.
My Hero Brother (2016) is an Israeli documentary. It was co-written and directed by Yonatan Nir.
This film fits into the one-of-a-kind category. A group of people with Down's Syndrome, along with their siblings, travels from Israel to India, where they will trek through the Himalayas. Trekking through the Himalayas isn't easy for anyone, and it's particularly hard for people with Down's syndrome. People with Down's syndrome don't just have mental disabilities. They often are less able to tolerate rigorous exercise, and they are probably more susceptible to altitude sickness.
The movie was fascinating, because it gave us really good observations about the behavior of the people with Down's, the behavior of their siblings, and the (often poignant) interactions between siblings.
Of course, the scenery was breathtaking, and that made the movie easier to watch. Also, there was some real bonding that we witnessed during the film. This bonding wasn't only between siblings; it was also between the people with Down's.
The movie was problematic for me because I believe that the trek put the people with Down's syndrome at a real risk. There was a doctor along, but her advice was often pushed aside. The leaders of the group were determined that everyone reach the summit. However, in my opinion, this was their goal, not necessarily the goal of the climbers. So, the leaders took a calculated risk knowing that someone might got seriously ill or even die.
When you take a calculated risk and it works, you look pretty good. When you take a calculated risk and it doesn't work, you look very, very bad. Imagine the same film with one of the participants becoming critically ill. Would reaching the summit look like such a good choice then?
The good news is that the calculated risk paid off, and there were smiles all around. Everyone was happy, and the film could be finished and distributed. So, ultimately, I believe this is a film worth seeing. Whether the gain outweighed the risks is something each viewer will have to decide.
We saw this movie in the excellent Little Theatre, as part of the wonderful Rochester International Jewish Film Festival. If you live in Upstate New York, this great festival deserves your attention.
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