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The Hero

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Original title
O Herói (The Hero)
Running time
97 min.
Angola Angola
Carla Baptista
David Linx, Diedrik Wissels
Mario Masini
, , , , ,
Co-production Angola-Portugal-France; DAVID, GOLIAS / Les Films de l'Après-Midi / Gamboa, Gamboa
Drama | Ensemble Film
Synopsis / Plot
Ever since its 30-year civil war ended in April 2002, the country of Angola has been struggling to piece itself back together. Director Zézé Gamboa's beautifully crafted film The Hero is emblematic of this national effort. Indeed, its extraordinary level of accomplishment heralds a new era of Angolan cinema.

Like their country, the characters in the film are determined to piece together the blown bits of their lives to make themselves whole again: Vitório, the war hero, has returned from the front lines, where he lost his leg after stepping on a land mine; now he struggles to keep his prosthetic leg away from thieves. Little Manu searches endlessly for his father, who hasn't yet returned from the war. Maria Barbára is one of thousands of parents who are searching for their lost children. Joana, a middle-class schoolteacher, strives to find political hope amidst the postwar corruption.

Bolstered by a talented cast led by the magnificent Milton Coelho, Gamboa deftly weaves together these deeply felt stories in surprising and unexpected ways, creating a nuanced portrait of contemporary life in Angola. However, the reach of The Hero is also universal: a luminous tableau of human longing and a testament to the power of perseverance.— Shari Frilot (from

2005: Sundance: World Cinema Dramatic Jury Prize.

About the director Zézé Gamboa: Angola's turbulent history colors the work of Zézé Gamboa, who was born in the African nation's capital city of Luanda. After years as a director of public television, Gamboa began making documentaries, including Breath of Angola (1991), Dissidence (1998), and Burned by Blue (1999). The Hero is his first full-length fictional film.
2005: Sundance Film Festival: Grand Jury Prize (World Cinema)
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