Nunez directed one of my favorite films, "Ruby in Paradise," which looks, sounds, and feels like a long poem. Robert Ebert has said that Nunez shows a great sympathy and undersanding of his characters. "He cares about his people, what they need, how they feel," Ebert said. I'm excited to see how the characters in "Spoken Word" feel and what they want. It's bound to be a revelation.
Nunez chose one of my favorite actors, Ruben Blades, to appear in this ode to rhythm, words, and images. Blades, who plays the father of the main character in the film, a poet, is a multi-talented performer. He's a Salsa star, holds two law degress, and ran for President of Panama in 1994. As a Salsa musician Blades can croon, dance, and make you want to get up and join the band. As an actor, he can go from sensitive to threatening, and humble to romantic. I love to see him do his thing.
"Spoken Word" is scheduled for a 2010 release date but it premiered on the festival circuit at the New York International Latino Film Festival in July. Here's a description of the film from that film festival's Web site:
When a San Francisco-based spoken word artist returns home to New Mexico to be with his dying father, he finds that he loses his "voice" as he is sucked back into his old life of drugs and violence.
"Spoken Word" takes us into the poet's mind as he attempts to forge a new, even stronger voice, and heal his relationships with his family, his community and himself.
I'll be looking out for the wide release of the film next year, but until then, here's a peek at some of the poetry that's featured in the film:
by Enrique Aviles
I’m here as a civilian
I put aside my rank and uniform
my poetic duty
there’s no beauty in these words
no literary value
Take off your jewelry and your watch
might want to loosen up your tie
this is not a lyric moment
not a sonnet
not an epic poem with perfect structure
this has no beauty in mind
there’s no song or rhythm in this piece
my intention is not to touch your heart
Get Ready I’m here to give you back your things
all the stuff you left me with
here’s your stuff
your evil ways of cunning and f****** me over
Take your s***
your broken treaty
your notarized agreement
There’s no beauty in these words
I’m here as a civilian
as a threat
as a punk
as a thug
as the image you created
to kick your a**.
Get ready y'all: "Spoken Word"
A Review of "Spoken Word" in Variety.