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Manito
     

Manito

5.0 1
Director: Eric Eason

Cast: Franky G., Leo Minaya, Manuel Cabral

 
Yet another American filmmaker inspired by the storytelling economy of Dogme 95, writer/director Eric Eason shot his feature debut, Manito, on digital video with a tiny budget and cast the film predominantly with first-time actors. Native New Yorker Eason's tale takes place in the Puerto Rican community of Washington Heights. Manny (Leo Minaya) is

Overview

Yet another American filmmaker inspired by the storytelling economy of Dogme 95, writer/director Eric Eason shot his feature debut, Manito, on digital video with a tiny budget and cast the film predominantly with first-time actors. Native New Yorker Eason's tale takes place in the Puerto Rican community of Washington Heights. Manny (Leo Minaya) is graduating high school near the top of his class and is headed to Syracuse University on a full scholarship. His family proudly organizes a massive graduation party, paid for by his older brother, Junior (Franky G.). Junior is a habitual womanizer who's done time for dealing drugs, but now he's working as a contractor. He's still hustling -- he falsifies his insurance certificate for a new job and hires illegal Mexican workers off the street -- but he's trying to pull his life together and support his wife, Miriam (Julissa Lopez), and their little boy. But his big celebration for Manny (staged at the famous Jimmy's Bronx Café) does not go smoothly. Their father, Oscar (Manuel Cabral), a reformed crack dealer, tries to participate in the big event, but Junior, still haunted by their ugly past, chases Oscar off, threatening to kill him. Manny has a crush on a sexually mature classmate, Marisol (Jessica Morales), and when he escorts her home from the party, they're accosted on the subway by two hoods who molest Marisol and steal Manny's graduation money. Just when it seems the world might be opening up to them, Manny and Junior find their hopes for the future in jeopardy. Manito won a Special Jury Prize for its ensemble cast at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, and was shown in competition at the 2002 Tribeca Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
Eric Eason's debut feature Manito is a lively and affectionate portrait of one dysfunctional Puerto Rican family, but in the end the film devolves into melodrama. With storytelling skill and agility, Eason introduces the Moreno family, letting the audience get to know his characters and revealing key information at a naturalistic pace. He's aided by a talented cast, including the energetic Franky G. as Junior, a uniquely charming scoundrel. Franky G.'s performance is one of the real pleasures in the film. As fast as Junior can talk, the actor lets us see that he's not quite as slick as he thinks he is and it's amusing to watch him slip out of one jam after another, knowing that it's just a matter of time before he's tripped up. Junior is a likeable but deeply flawed young man. The power of his love for his diligent younger brother is inextricably linked to the rage he feels toward their negligent father. Leo Minaya's charismatic performance as the shy, but intelligent Manny is much more low-key, but equally engaging. Eason's entertainingly grungy film, shot on digital video, has room for a number of strong supporting characters and captures a lot of comic detail. One particularly memorable visual gag has Junior picking up a group of illegal Mexican workers for a construction job. They're all wearing dress shirts and bow ties from their most recent work in a restaurant and Junior later tries to tell his client that his crew always dresses up for the first day of a job. For most of its length, Manito is an exemplary urban drama, with flashes of wit and dark undertones. But at the end, when Eason's narrative veers into the fatalistic, it seems more a bow to genre conventions than anything organic or heartfelt.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/05/2005
UPC:
0616892622925
Original Release:
2002
Rating:
NR
Source:
Film Movement
Time:
1:17:00

Special Features

Interview with Frankie G.; Director's commentary; Manito theatrical trailer; Biographies of director and actors; Coming soon to Film Movement: Yamina Benguigui's Inch'Allah Dimanche; This month's short film: Brin Hill's Morning Breath

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Franky G. Junior Moreno
Leo Minaya Manny Moreno
Manuel Cabral Oscar Moreno
Julissa Lopez Miriam
Jessica Morales Marisol
Hector Gonzalez Abuelo
Panchito Gomez Rodchenko
Jeff Asencio Ignacio
Edwin de Leon Roberto
Adreal Irizarry Hercules
Yovanna Jose Nena
Casper Martinez Enrique
Petra Quinones Aunt Aida
Lavidania Ramirez Anita
Tiffany Yates Mrs. Wendorf

Technical Credits
Eric Eason Director,Screenwriter
Luis Armada Camera Operator
Allen Bain Producer
Steve Carillo Associate Producer,Camera Operator
Paul Corvino Executive Producer
Christine Darch Production Designer
Neil Davis Executive Producer
Peggy Fry Executive Producer
Didier Gertsch Cinematographer
Darren Goldberg Asst. Director
Klyle Henry Editor
Melissa Imossi Art Director
John P. McGrath Executive Producer
Lanre Olibisi Sound/Sound Designer
Jesse Scolaro Producer
Ferenc Toth Producer
Saundi Wilson Score Composer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Here in New York [8:10]
2. Manny and the Boys [5:39]
3. Junior's Business [3:38]
4. Stay Away From Us [6:43]
5. At the Bar [2:34]
6. The Graduation Party [6:51]
7. Felicidades Manny [9:26]
8. The Train Ride [6:54]
9. You Should Have Been Here [5:20]
10. Jail [2:30]
11. No Peace for Junior [2:45]
12. No Help for Manny [9:30]

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Manito 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Inspired by Danish Dogme 95 films (The Celebration, et al) Eric Eason's debut feature film &quot Manito&quot is an engrossing and emotionally compelling work that transcends the narrow focus of that genre. Extraordinary taste, restraint and compassion is displayed in the direction of this film and towards the immigrant lives it portrays. Outstanding.