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By Scott Knopf | February 2, 2009

The world is a better place because of Sergio Vieira de Mello.

“Sergio” tells the story of a young Brazilian activist who got his start in politics, social work, and humanitarian efforts in his college years and never stopped. Interviewed are Sergio’s co-workers, family members, and military personnel who attempted to help those hurt in the explosion which led to a partial building collapse. Among the more recognizable faces interviewed are Britain’s ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice both of whom speak highly about the man and his work.

Through his work with the United Nations, the handsome diplomat fought for human rights all around the world. In fact, he became the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2002. The following year saw the respected humanitarian accept a position as the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General to Iraq, a position that would ultimately put his life in danger. Not working with, and at times working against, the United States, Sergio played an important role representing those opposed to the occupation of Iraq.

Even though Sergio always made it clear that he did not support the occupation, he was still a target for local terrorist groups. It was one of these groups that bombed the UN headquarters building in 2003.

Barker’s construction of the film succeeds in painting an inspiring picture of an important man. Cutting back and forth between archival footage of Sergio at different points of his life and interviews with those involved in his life, the director creates an intriguing narrative which keeps the audience intrigued until the last frame. If you’re unfamiliar with Sergio Vieira de Mello’s life and legacy, don’t worry, you will be by the time the end credits roll.

This is the sort of film that doesn’t drown it’s viewer in statistics and bulk-sized chunks of information, but instead it inspires the audience to find out those things on their own which is exactly what a documentary like “Sergio” strives to do: inspire.

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