In a world where Salsa music and dance are often reduced by mainstream pop culture to contestants doing partner dips and tricks to Pit Bull hip-hop remixes (ex…So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With The Stars), it’s nice to come across a film production that at least captures the attitude and vibe of the dance correctly.
Mano (2007) is a film co-written and directed by Anthony Nardolillo. It’s a drama about two childhood friends who years later reunite under less than auspicious circumstances.
The plot summary (taken from the Mano IMBD page):
“Victor and Machito were best friends growing up and heavily involved in the underground salsa scene. Separated as teenagers after the death of Victor’s father, Victor leaves New York all together, however the passion for dance and music never leaves him. After returning to the block he grew up on years later, he seeks out his childhood buddy Machito, whom he discovers has followed his father’s fatal footsteps.”
The film featured an impressive list of extremely talented and popular Salsa dancers including Cristian Oviedo, Magna Gopal, and Kimberly Flores. Salsa sensation Kimberly Flores and LA Salsa legend Francisco Vasquez (of the famed Vasquez brothers) choreographed the film! Magna and Gordon Neil also served as assistant choreographers. That is an outstanding set of dance talent that further helped the films Salsa authenticity.
In 2008 it won the Sol Award for best cinematography. It also starred a few current Hollywood notables including Laz Alonso (Avatar), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), and the late Lee T. Young (Rizzoli & Isles). Mr. Nardolillo stars as Victor in the film.
Nardolillo recently released the full 24-minute short film to the masses on his Facebook page and on Youtube. So…we decided to share it here for all those not familiar with him or the film. Yes, the film is a few years old, but anytime we come across well done, “underground” productions featuring Salsa we like to highlight them.
Check it out!
Warning: Mano contains some strong language (profanity).