Destiny has a weird way of rearing up its ugly head…
Playing for a one off tomorrow at the Paradise Theatre here in Toronto and launching on iTunes here in Canada at the same time; Man Proposes, God Disposes makes for a strong feature debut from writer/director Daniel Leo which while it leans on some ‘familiar’ storytelling beats and narrative manipulations is a visual stunning affair that has something very clear to say in an increasingly disconnected world.
Karol’s(Mateusz Nedza) life in Poland is going nowhere fast. Without a job and living at home with his mother and sister, he engages in small organized crime during the day and goes clubbing all night. Then one day he receives a phone call from Brazil that changes his life – a one-night stand with a visiting Brazilian tourist named Bruna (Bruna Massarelli) has resulted in a surprise pregnancy. As someone who grew up with an absent father, the choice for Karol is clear, and he quickly leaves Poland for São Paulo. But as Karol and Bruna slowly open up to each other, they realize how much they each need human connection. Neither one of them, however, can be prepared for what fate has in store.
Working the DIY angle on your debut feature can have some positives and some negatives as you go along with way. Thankfully, Man Proposes, God Disposes certainly does more right than it does wrong as it thrusts us into the complexities of the urban landscape and trying to do right by other humans beings.
Firstly the film looks amazing as Leo (who also handled his own cinematography) takes into the streets of Sao Paulo in the midst of political unrest and makes it all look epic and much larger than his production budget probably would have ever allowed him to do. From a visual standpoint alone there’s no doubt that Daniel Leo has a bright future ahead of him.
While the script has a solid theme to it that gets delivered reasonably well from his two leads with their minimal on screen experience as we embrace the ideal of having to start a new life under less than ideal circumstances, the film also has some awkward pacing beats and plays a little clunky a times. From the writing to the editing, you can tell that this is a first feature as it lacks a certain amount of polish. It works for and against him as a storyteller because while you will get hung up on the occasional moment that feels off, his obvious talent and strengths really shine through. The young leads we’re fine but we really only got a handful of moments where it felt like they we’re on the same page…but that being said those moments we’re pretty damn good.
Ultimately Man Proposes, God Disposes isn’t a perfect first feature but it’s the kind that we unquestionably like to see around here. Daniel Leo is a storyteller with some genuine potential and promise and he’s now on our (and should be on your) radar sooner rather than later.
Man Proposes, God Disposes plays the Paradise Theatre tomorrow night here in Toronto and Writer/Director Daniel Leo will be in attendance for a Q&A or you find it available via Apple TV tomorrow as well.