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A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING
USA: First Look Pictures
UK: Revolver Entertainment
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Shia LaBeouf, Chazz Palminteri, Dianne Wiest, Channing Tatum, Melonie Diaz, Martin Compston, Rosario Dawson, Adam Scarimbolo, Julia Garro, Peter Tambakis, Scott Campbell, Anthony De Sando, Eleonore Hendricks, George Di Cenzo
Director: Dito Montiel
USA & UK: 98 mins
USA Rated: R for pervasive language, some violence, sexuality, and drug use
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong language, sex references and soft drug use
USA Release Date: 29 September 2006 (Limited Release - New York and Los Angeles)
UK Release Date: 2 March 2007 (Limited Release)
Dito Montiel's A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS, a coming-of-age drama inspired by Montiel's mid-eighties youth in Astoria, Queens, exudes the rawness and authenticity of the classic urban dramas MEAN STREETS, SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, DO THE RIGHT THING and KIDS. Based on his memoir of the same name, GUIDE won both the Dramatic Directing Award and a Special Jury Award for Best Ensemble Performance at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.
Shot on a shoestring budget by first-time director Montiel in collaboration with renowned director of photography Eric Gautier (THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES), A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS is an evocative and heartbreaking cinematic memory piece that packs an emotional wallop. The film features exceptional performances by Robert Downey Jr., Chazz Palmenteri, Dianne Wiest, Rosario Dawson, and Shia LaBeouf, as well as a breakout turn by Channing Tatum. The combined efforts of this cast of established talents and young, up-and-coming actors recalls the ensemble triumph of AMERICAN GRAFFITI.
A successful writer living in Los Angeles, Dito (Robert Downey Jr.) is summoned home to Astoria after a 15-year absence by his mother (Dianne Wiest) when his father (Chazz Palminteri) becomes seriously ill. His father never forgave Dito for leaving home and thus the two have a very strained relationship. Memories of his youth come flooding back as Dito (played as a teenager by Shia LaBeouf) revisits the old neighborhood, encountering the few childhood friends (the "saints" of the film and memoir's title) who aren't in prison or dead. As Dito finds himself whisked back into the childhood events that shaped him, we meet an unforgettable cast of characters living in the thick of a sweltering 1986 Queens summer.
These "saints" include Laurie (Melonie Diaz), Dito's childhood sweetheart; Mike O'Shea (Martin Compston), a transplanted Scot with an Irish name who dreams of becoming a punk rock musician; Giuseppe (Adam Scarimbolo), a reckless, destructive and possibly insane member of Dito's street posse; and the unforgettable Antonio (Channing Tatum), Dito's cocky and volatile best friend grappling with an abusive father. As Dito comes to terms with the ghosts of his past, he must fight to rebuild a relationship with his emotionally distant father.
An honest, unflinching account of a bittersweet return to a neighborhood where relationships can never be what they once were, A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS is about coming to terms with misplaced love, reconciling with family, and embracing the ghosts of your past. It's a mesmerizing debut from a truly gifted new director.
Interviews with Robert Downey Jr., Channing Tatum, Shia LaBeouf, Trudie Styler and Dito Montiel (writer, director) and behind the scenes footage