Hermano at the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival 2011 (review)

The story of Hermano has been told again and again, yet retains its poignancy and freshness with the right actors and masterful direction. A touching tale of family, loyalty, brotherhood, justice, revenge, redemption and sacrifice describes what I saw on Sunday afternoon at the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival.

Daniel is an exceptional footballer, a phenomenal striker. Julio is the team’s captain, a born leader. As brothers they grew up playing football together in a Caracas slum called “La Ceniza.” While Daniel dreams of playing professional football, Julio supports the family with “dirty” money; he has little time to dream. The opportunity of their lives arrives when a football scout invites them to tryout with the city’s best team: the Caracas Football Club. But tragedy looms nearby. They must choose, on a dusty football pitch, what is most important: family unity, revenge or the chance of a lifetime. On this pitch, life is on the line.

As I said, the story of Hermano is one you’ll be familiar with and that you’ll recognize in the first half hour. But knowing the plot takes nothing away from the quality of the two main actors, the beautiful “shoulder camera” videography and the bittersweet feeling of the finale. It sometimes felt like a more tragic South American version of Slumdog Millionaire, but I don’t hold that against it.

Hermano is a hopeful “from rags to riches” movie but it doesn’t forget the reality of living in slums controlled by drug lords. Too often, the price to pay to leave the life is unbearably high, and the movie does its best to underline that. There is no easy way out for Julio and Daniel, even through football.

Hermano will be showing again on Friday, September 9th at SFU Woodward at 7PM. You can get more information on the VLAFF website.


Hummingbird604.com is a proud media sponsor for the 2011 edition of the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival. Follow all our coverage here on the VLAF2011 tag or on the Hummingbird604.com Facebook page. Anabelle attended on Hummingbird604.com’s media pass.

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