The Hero

Director: Zézé Gamboa
Screenwriters: Carla Baptista

Institute History

  • 2005 Sundance Film Festival


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

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]