One of the greatest soccer player in Brazilian history, Heleno de Freitas (Rodrigo Santoro) played in the 1940s with an aggressive style that revolutionized the sport. Heleno is director Jose Henrique Fonseca’s biographical look at the life of a man whose aggressive style on the field was matched by his womanizing and substance abuse off the field. Shot in black and white to evoke the look and feel of the classic Hollywood movies of the era, Heleno gives viewers the sense and image of a man whose arrogance and violent temper ultimately destroyed his life, as well as a sense of the times in which he lived.
As a soccer player, Heleno was anything but a team player. He played a very aggressive game, scoring 209 goals for Rio’s Botafogo club. Heleno’s ultimate dream was to lead Brazil to victory at the World Cup. Sadly, he never had the chance, as World War II prompts the cancellation of the 1942 and 1946 World Cup tournaments. Although Heleno is about the life of a great soccer player, the movie does not actually show a lot of soccer. It focuses instead on his off-field romances, tantrums, nightclubbing, ether addiction and, in the end, syphilis-induced madness.
Heleno was filmed in Portuguese. The drama is scheduled for a limited New York release by Screen Media Films on December 7, 2012. Based on a screenplay by Felipe Braganca, Fernando Castets and director Jose Henrique Fonseca, Heleno also stars Alinne Moraes and Angie Cepeda.