Fifteen years ago, their Washington Heights neighborhood was dubbed the crack-cocaine capital of the world, but today it is transforming into one of the most vibrant, Spanish-speaking ... See full summary »
Fifteen years ago, their Washington Heights neighborhood was dubbed the crack-cocaine capital of the world, but today it is transforming into one of the most vibrant, Spanish-speaking communities in the United States. While the drug dealers continue to disappear, their violent legacy still casts a shadow over the neighborhood and its residents. Junior, an ex-convict struggling to get his life back on track, is a product of this legacy. His younger brother Manny, the salutatorian of his high school class, embodies the hope of the future. On the night of his graduation party, Manny finds himself faced with an ill-fated decision that could change his life forever. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Here is a film (along with "City of God") that explores a violent world infested by drugs--and uses a cast of non-professional actors. Shot for much less money than the Brazilian masterpiece, Manito is something of a "minor masterpiece". I had heard that the images and editing are jarring. But I discovered it to be, on the contrary, a beautifully photographed film, the grain structure of which reminded me of 8mm Ecktachrome stocks from the 1960s...Furthermore, the camera choreography is a daring risk to mimick the exuberance of a passionate family in the throes of a tumultuous celebration that turns to tragedy. This is a style that could not be more perfectly suited to the material. The highest compliment one can say about these incredibly brutal yet beautiful images is that nothing like this has ever been seen before. "Manito" is better than virtually every other film made in America this year. That's not saying a whole hell of lot in year that has given us one bomb after the next. But "Manito" is a significant achievement.
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