The Hero | Chicago Reader

The Hero

97 minutes 2004

Set in an Angola mired in poverty, corruption, and despair, this 2004 drama by Zeze Gamboa concerns a crippled veteran of the civil war—a “hero” with a medal to prove it—who finds himself homeless and unemployable in peacetime. When his prosthetic leg is stolen by a street gang, he becomes a national symbol, and the publicity brings him into contact with a fatherless boy whose struggle to survive constitutes its own brand of heroism. Contrived coincidences drive a pat happy ending, but this Angolan-French-Portuguese coproduction is still compelling for its human drama and the surreal landscape of shantytowns and skyscrapers, dusty urban wastelands and pulsing red-light nightspots. In French and Portuguese with subtitles.

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