This Week in Virtual Cinemas: Sergio

Wagner Moura and Ana de Armas appear in Sergio by Greg Barker, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

Filmmaker Greg Barker offers Netflix audiences two choices for experiencing the one-of-a-kind life story of Sergio Vieira de Mello, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the rescue operation to save him after the 2003 bombing of U.N. headquarters in Baghdad.

The first film is Barker’s compelling 2009 HBO Documentary Films release Sergio, an emotional dive into Sergio’s humanitarian career, charismatic personality, and ultimate sacrifice for a more just world.

Barker is an accomplished documentary filmmaker (Manhunt and The Thread). He gets the balance right between face-the-camera interviews, archival news, and fresh footage.

I’ve been a fan of Sergio since watching the documentary at Sundance. It’s just as compelling some 11 years later.

Barker takes a second swipe at the Sergio story for his dramatic feature, Sergio, a Sundance 2020 premiere making its Netflix debut.

Brazilian actor Wagner Moura delivers ample charisma and good looks as Sergio. Future Bond actress Ana de Armas is mostly forgettable as economist Carolina Larriera, the pretty object of Sergio’s affections. On the surface, Moura and de Armas make a handsome couple. Unfortunately, scriptwriter Craig Borten (The 33) fails to deliver a love story as compelling as their sex appeal.

Barker takes bold, creative risks revisiting the Sergio story for his dramatic filmmaking debut. A master filmmaker like Werner Herzog can adapting one of his documentaries, Little Dieter Needs to Fly, for an exciting feature that feels fresh and different, Rescue Dawn.

Barker comes up short compared to Herzog. I admire his willingness to take a creative risk. I’m still going to stick with watching his earlier documentary.

Check out both Sergio movies on Netflix.

 Movie fans love springtime thanks to significant film festivals SXSW and Tribeca. Both film fests are making exclusive content available virtually. It’s an exciting opportunity for audiences to experience new features while following social distancing and shelter at home policies. Click here for Tribeca content. Look for SXSW content available via Amazon Prime from April 27 through May 6.

In the time of Corona, our homes are virtual cinemas complete with red carpets.

The Original Feed is a digital platform from SR Media. Stories highlight inspiration and innovation in the worlds of art, design, and technology. Learn more @steveramosmedia

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