|Sundance London Review: Blood Brother|
|Written by Ivan Radford|
|Saturday, 27 April 2013 07:49|
Director: Steve Hooper
Every now and then, a film comes along that wallops you sideways and makes you rethink your life. Blood Brother is one of them. Directed by Steve Hooper, it’s a heartfelt tribute to his best friend, Rocky Braat, a guy who sold everything he owned and moved to India to help at an orphanage for kids with HIV.
"Rocky Anna!" the children cry as he returns from a brief visit back to America - Anna meaning "brother". He smiles and picks them up without inhibition. "I didn't want to be just another face in the visitors book," he explains to the camera.
Rapidly cutting together vox pops and handheld footage, Hooper's editing makes for a haphazard introduction to the orphanage, but finds its feet when following Rocky's one-on-one relationships. One young boy, Surya, goes to hospital with sores all over him. Rocky camps out by his bed for months, nursing him and trying to feed him pizza, despite Surya only having a 10% chance of survival.
It's a shocking sequence, shot with a candid approach that borders on inappropriate - but Steve's immediate access, and connection to his subject, is precisely what gives this documentary its emotional impact. Rocky's own down-to-earth attitude avoids any possible air of hagiography or exploitation, complemented by Steve's sincere narration, which chronicles his own journey and experience.
The result is a moving portrayal of how one man's small decision can change the world; an intimate, inspiring and powerful documentary that will raise awareness as much as it incites tears. Quite simply a must-see.
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