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Friday, July 2, 2010
Eliu Armas, Beto Benites, Ganzalo Cubero
Rohan Jones, Marcel Rasquin
Two young men who have been raised as brothers look to their soccer skills as a way of getting out of their slum. While a scout is in town, an act of violence threatens to tear them apart.
Hermano (2010) | Review
The Cost of Redemption
Hermano (Brother) is firmly rooted in the difficult life of a South American barrio. It opens with Julio and his mother going to a birthday party when Julio hears what he thinks is a cat and runs onto the trash heap, where he finds a baby. His mother takes the boy into the family. Later Julio and his little brother Daniel (aka Gato [Cat]) make quite a team playing soccer. Daniel is the more gifted, but Julio always has an advantage when they go one-on-one. Their team will be playing for the inter-barrio championship, but it could be that there are bigger things in store for them.
The two brothers have very different natures. Julio is something of an Alpha male. He parties as much as possible. He brags about his accomplishments. He is getting involved with the local gang as an enforcer, but tries not to be overly violent. Daniel is quieter. He's only sixteen now and just on the cusp of adulthood. He has a kindness that may grow out of knowing that he owes his life to someone being kind to him. Julio has always been the dominant brother. But Daniel's coach tells him that he must step out of Julio's shadow. "The day you do, you're gonna fly."
Just before their try-out with the pro club, tragedy hits. How the two brothers respond to that tragedy and the ways they respond to each other in its aftermath will have serious repercussions in their possible futures. Will this opportunity be a way to save them from their life in the barrio?
Sports films often deal with the idea of redemption—of overcoming the pain and sufferings of life by what happens in the arena. It doesn't necessarily mean winning. It is about finding oneself through the process of training and competition. That is true of Hermano, but it is also a story of the relationship between the two brothers. It is in that relationship that a future will be found. But there may not be room in that future for them both.
As the championship game draws closer—a game that could change their future—the relationship between Daniel and Julio becomes strained in the aftermath of the tragedy that has come into their lives. Because of this we realize that the game that really matters is not the championship, but the one-on-one game between the brothers—a game that Daniel has never won.
Redemption carries a cost. The redeemed may not feel worthy of such a price being paid for them. That may be because the cost of redemption is not reckoned through cost analysis and weighing of worth and value, but through love.
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