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Piñero (2001)

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"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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Leon Ichaso

Writer:

Leon Ichaso
6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Benjamin Bratt ... Miguel Piñero
Giancarlo Esposito ... Miguel Algarin
Talisa Soto ... Sugar
Nelson Vasquez ... Tito Goya
Michael Wright ... Edgar Bowser
Michael Irby ... Reinaldo Povod
Rita Moreno ... Miguel's Mother
Jaime Sánchez ... Miguel's Father (as Jamier Sanchez)
Rome Neal Rome Neal ... Jake
Mandy Patinkin ... Joseph Papp
Oscar A. Colon Oscar A. Colon ... Bodega Man (as Oscar Colon)
Miriam Cruz Miriam Cruz ... Bodega Woman
Luis Caballero Luis Caballero ... Shooting Gallery Man
Sophia Domoulin Sophia Domoulin ... Shooting Gallery Woman
Robert Klein ... Doctor
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Storyline

"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 <info@greenestreetfilms.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for drug use, strong language and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 April 2002 (Brazil) See more »

Also Known As:

Pinero See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$21,750, 16 December 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,418,314, 2 March 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Leguizamo who served as Executive Producer on Pinero played Orlando Calderone son of Esteban Calderone on Miami Vice.Esteban Calderone was played by Miguel Pinero. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Miguel Piñero: Hey, what's happenin', what's happenin'?
[chuckling]
Miguel Piñero: We'll just start from the top.
Miguel Piñero: 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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Connections

Referenced in The Holiday (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Mi Desengaño
Written by Julio Merced and Pucho Soufront
Published by FAF Publishing-Sonido, Inc. (BMI)
Performed by Roberto Roena
Courtesy of Fania Records
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User Reviews

The music is very much a character in filmmaker Leon Ichaso's "Piñero"
10 February 2002 | by ruby_fffSee all my reviews

The film Piñero is poetry in itself. The film's music - the songs, the beat of the tunes, the score - is very much an integral character in the telling of the life and times of Miguel Piñero. It is really energetic in spite of the grim aspects of Piñero's life. Writer-director Leon Ichaso put together a structured montage of Piñero's biographic snapshots with his works: plays, TV dramas, poetry readings, intermingled with signs of the times of 60s, 70s news clips: Nixon stepping out of Air Force One, Reagan dodging his assassination attempt on his life, image of Ayatollah and political crowds.

A brief lifetime of 41 years (Piñero was born December 1946, died June 1988) delivered in a most artistic, poetic, and musical way with the right mix and pacing - almost too fast as Piñero himself disappeared as life ends. Yet it was probably a full life in spite of it all: had a tenacious nurturing single mother, streetwise boyhood with abuse experiences, drug addictions, a heavy smoker, a thief in and out of prison life, and a poet, playwright, actor, co-founder of the Nuyorican Poet's Café with dear friend Miguel Algarín. The film goes back and forwards between life on the streets, scenes in a prison, scenes on a stage, and poetry exchange on rooftops, to Piñero alone and with strangers (what would happen if he did get a kidney transplant?) To him, life is a stage, a play, a poem and very much vice versa.

Bravo to writer-director Leon Ichaso! Technically behind the scenes: film editor David Tedeschi - the exquisite seamless Black and White scenes immediately followed by color scenes and continuously in and out of color and B/W - it's amazing! Along with the selection of lively Latin songs and the film score by Kip Hanrahan, Claudio Chea's cinematography, no doubt, adds to this ensemble piece of work. The talented group of actors (with Giancarlo Esposito as Miguel Algarin, Talisa Soto as Sugar, Rita Moreno as Miguel's mother, Mandy Patinkin as Joe Papp) complement Benjamin Bratt's brilliant portrayal of Miguel Piñero - heart-warming in spite of the dark shades of Piñero's life. It's great to be able to see Bratt in a role that he can truly stretch and show his soulful acting.

I thoroughly appreciate the film in all its fullness - wholeness. Somehow reminds me of Clint Eastwood's "Bird" 1988 (also a brilliant portrayal by Forest Whitaker as Charlie Parker, with a memorable heart-wrenching performance from Diane Venora as Chan, Parker's wife), a hard medicine (not easy to swallow) film of a Jazz genius, also short-lived (born 1920, died 1955); 160 mins. long but worth seeing.


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