The Hero (O Herói)

In Portuguese with English subtitles. This award winning film is one of the few known recent films on post-war Angola. The film is shot in and around Angola’s capital city Luanda and tells of a war veteran and amputee, Victorio, and his struggles to find employment, love, and respect. The film has several stories magnificently woven into one film. Victorio represents the ravages of Angola’s civil war and the efforts of ex-combatants to re-enter a society that no longer sees them as heroes. The film also tells the stories of three other supporting characters whose lives have been destroyed by the conflict. Manu, a troubled ten year old orphan who lost his father in the war, emerges to show another dimension to the civil war’s impact. The second supporting character is Judite, a prostitute who has become separated from her son and forms a relationship with Victorio. The third supporting character is Joana, a teacher in Luanda’s public schools. She reaches out to Manu as a teacher, as she attempts to show him the importance of school and an education. She also befriends Victorio when his prosthetic leg is stolen by local thugs. Joana uses her contacts and her dedication to change to help both Victorio and Manu.

The film, though not a documentary, documents the impact of Angola’s civil war on her people. Angola continues to be the country with the largest number of land mines, and the film reflects that reality in Victorio’s difficulty in getting a prosthetic leg because of the high demand. The film also shows the very real search for loved ones as seen a the film’s depiction of Angola’s television program “Meeting Place” where parents and children appear in attempts to locate each other.

Available in VHS, DVD and 35mm.

allafrica.com

September 2006
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