Hermano (Brother)

I was expecting a Venezuelan soap alike or a very violent not good to watch film but I was aware that film not only is Venezuela’s submission to Oscar but also won the top award at 2010 Moscow fest and I gave the film the benefit of the doubt. Can’t deny that I was surprised as film is quite good, not soapy and not really violent, thus this film has become the best Venezuelan film I have seen ever and honestly I find it superior to other films submitted to Oscar –which I have seen- by Latin American countries.

Tells the story of Daniel, a baby that was found in a garbage street dump thanks to young Julio who heard him crying and thought was a cat. When Julio’s mother, Graciela, sees the baby she leaves to return and pick him up. Forward story to when Daniel, now a teenager, is an exceptional soccer player playing in a “barrio” team where older brother Julio is the team’s captain. Daniel loves his mother and brother, not only for saving his life but for the tight bond the small family has; he dreams to play professional soccer but life in a “barrio” is not easy and Julio is already involved in the slum lowlife. Suddenly tragedy strikes when both brothers are about to get their opportunity to find a way out of slum life but they’re torn between revenge and following a better future.

Film doesn’t tell a “new” story but Marcel Rasquin’s storytelling technique makes it fresh and as narrative evolves tension is properly built and you will not only get interested in this human drama but also will surely get emotionally involved. Is true that film is about soccer but actually I believe that is just a narrative vehicle and besides soccer is not a popular sport in Venezuela (not like baseball or basketball) so using soccer makes story more about true “underdogs” with everything against them.

Many Venezuelan films portrait Caracas slums quite harsh (which is more real, like real-life) but this film doesn’t do it as centers more in the human drama making the movie a lot easier to watch and a lot more entertaining as well as emotional. This was quite interesting for me that can’t deny that when started to watch was very skeptical and almost stop watching; but I kept watching and soon enough I was absolutely involved with the drama. As a film is interesting with some hand held camera takes but story is what really grabs your attention and tech specs are adequate to not disturb your story involvement.

If you speak or understand Spanish I strongly suggest that you watch this film with subtitles as unless you speak “Venezuelan” will be hard to understand what they’re saying as characters speak using many local words and expressions.

I like the movie more than what imagined and I do recommend it as a strong human drama with an unexpected bittersweet ending (I kept trying to guess the ending, but I didn’t, which is unusual) that will entertain and involve you. If you follow Latin American cinema, film is must be seen as is a great example of good cinema from a not traditional cinema prolific country.


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