"Piñero" tells the story of the explosive life of a Latino icon, the poet-playwright-actor Miguel Piñero, whose urban poetry is recognized as a pre-cursor to rap and hip-hop. After doing ...
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Johnny Handsome is a deformed gangster who plans a successful robbery with a friend of his, Mikey Chalmette, and another couple (Sunny Boid and Rafe Garrett). During the heist, Johnny and ... See full summary »
Henry Moon is captured for a capital offense by a posse when his horse quits while trying to escape to Mexico. He finds that there is a post-Civil War law in the small town that any single ... See full summary »
Three muralists (one Chicano, one Black, one American Indian) and the socially-maladjusted cousin of the Chicano muralist set off on a road trip with the intent of painting their images on ... See full summary »
Gustavo is a young Havana Communist who believes in the revolution; he hopes for a scholarship to study aeronautical engineering in Prague. But his faith in the new Cuba is tested: his ... See full summary »
"Piñero" tells the story of the explosive life of a Latino icon, the poet-playwright-actor Miguel Piñero, whose urban poetry is recognized as a pre-cursor to rap and hip-hop. After doing time in hard-core Sing-Sing for petty thefts and drug dealing, Piñero's prison experiences developed into the 1974 Tony-nominated play Short Eyes. The resulting notoriety and fame was too much for the Latino bad-boy genius who retreated to the darker corners of New York City. Written by
Hey, what's happenin', what's happenin'?
We'll just start from the top.
Well, I guess I started stealing when I was eight. Stealing bread for my baby sister and brother. And other times you walk into the supermarket and just eat the food right out of the aisles, and not even pay. We'd walk right outside, you know? Now when you think about Latin writers, you probably think about Senior Márquez, Neruda, Cortazar - the magic realism. Not here, not this. There are no ...
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The critics generally were not kind to this film, but I submit that in most cases their middle class roots are showing. Anyone with a serious interest in urban America in the '70s should see it. The visual style is jagged and hyper but that fits the subject matter aptly. The effect on the viewer is you either pay attention or get lost. Also, this is clearly not a movie that's interested in creating a cardboard hero, but do we need another one of those? The filmmakers are keen on showing Puerto Rican influence on NY culture, an influence so deep that it's often ignored.
Benjamin Bratt did receive some kudos for his acting, but he deserved nominations. In the short documentary on the DVD, he mentions that in his teens he saw the film of "Short Eyes" and was frightened by the subject matter. He also mentions fear when offered the Pinero role, because he would be playing a real person. This must be one of the notable cases where an actor overcame some fear to turn in an astonishing portrait.
I hope I've suggested a few of the reasons to see this film. Among other things, it casts doubt on the mainstream as we've come to know it. Pinero would have liked that about it....
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