The Man of the Year

Director: Jose Henrique Fonesca

Based on the award-winning novel "O Matador" by Patricia Melo, Fonesca’s powerful and violent debut film has played at festivals across the globe, earning an award as the Best Film from the San Francisco International Film Festival. Fonsesca, a former assistant to Walter Salles on Central Station, impressed his former mentor so much that Salles called The Man of the Year “brilliantly shot,” and it launched the young director into the new Brazilian wave of filmmaking. Dangerously charismatic in his lead role as Maiquel, Murilo Benicio portrays an average man who finds his whole life changed after a lost bet forces him to dye his hair platinum blonde. Within the first day, he gets into a machismo battle of words in a bar and the next day, ends up committing murder, setting him on his way to becoming a vigilante and unlikely hero in his crime-infested community. The film drew several comparisons to Fernando Meirelle’s far superior City of God due to its similar subject matter and country of origin. In fact, Jamie Russell of the BBC began his review of Man with the following lines, “Imagine if the kids of City of God lived beyond the age of fifteen and became everyday citizens. Now imagine if Quentin Tarantino was Brazilian.” While his words and the comments of other similarly minded critics do indeed hook you and the film plays as an intriguing companion piece to God, Fonesca’s film should be taken for what it is—a brutal but fully engrossing, wholly original work that promises more great things to come from the budding director. Luckily, the film has been made available to audiences in the U.S. from filmmovement.com.