Hermano (aka Brother) is the story of teenage brothers who are unbeatable together on the soccer field and have a chance to tryout for the local pro team.
Their single mom has raised the family in a barrio of Caracas, Venezuela. They adopted the younger boy, Daniel, as a baby after they found him in the trash piles of the slum.
16 year old Daniel throws off tackles like Messi. But Julio, a few years older and the man of the family, is a collector for the local gang. Can he pull himself away from la familia of The Life to help Daniel pursue his dream?
From the DVD
I was afraid that Hermano, the first feature film from Writer-Director Marcel Rasquin, was going to be a Venezuelan version of Rudo y Cursi, a depressing movie. Hermano is a little less dark, but it has a similar aftertaste.
There are some incongruities in the story, for example, the ganglord tells Julio to get out of The Life but then crushes Julio’s hand with a sledgehammer and tells him to go win the next day’s championship game. I had to listen to the director’s commentary to understand the ending.
The barrio soccer is excellent, played on dirt fields where, as in the barrio, anything goes. Hand guns and violence are everywhere, as is the desire to have a good time and live day to day. There is a sex scene between the mom and the boys’ coach, and a lot of drinking and implied sex by the boys and their teammates.
There is a plea for right-to-life, while on the other hand, a player is beaten to death on the pitch. Like most South American movies, the women are all bimbos, but at least here they are not prostitutes. The film was shot in Petare, the biggest slum in Caracas; the cinematography is excellent.
On the DVD, the director’s commentary is in English, as Rasquin and his team studied filmmaking in Australia.
5 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 5