Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ang pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros (The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros)

I haven’t seen many movies from Philippines and the few I have seen I found them uneven and not so pleasant to watch, as they’re long with many unnecessary subplots and scenes. But this 2005 film made with US$10,000, shot in 13 days and with 100 minutes of running time has changed my perceptions, as definitively this is a great film because of a great director, excellent script, the lead actors performances and the ultra realistic style of the film.

This Auraeus Solito film tells the story of Maxi, a twelve-years-old boy that lives with his petty thieves father and two older brothers. Maxi is the home caretaker as he assumed all the chores of his mother when she passed away. He is very beautiful and believes that he’s not their son/brother, he’s their daughter/sister and the family as well as the neighborhood accepts that Maxi is a girl. Life is simple and harmonious until Maxi meets and falls in love for the first time with Victor, a handsome policeman that will complicate Maxi’s and his family peaceful life.

Maybe the above story synopsis sounds banal and honestly I think that in different hands it could have been a terrible story, but helmer Solito and Michiko Yamamoto script did true cinema magic and gave us viewers the opportunity to watch an amazing and very different coming of age with a character, Maxi, that simply put is truly fascinating to watch; then we have Nathan Lopez that plays Maxi in such a natural way that I will remember the character and performance for a long time as is truly outstanding.

Some viewers’ comments that I read try to excuse their own liking of the movie by saying that Maxi was not gay, that he was “confussed”. This is absolutely a gay interest movie with the lead character being totally effeminate; but you have no idea how good the character and the performer are that has generated quite remarkable (but absurd) comments from viewers that probably are not exposed to the lower classes of many countries in the world where effeminate gay men are totally accepted as “normal” human beings in their communities. So if you have never seen this peculiarity, I strongly suggest you get to know about it with this movie as not only you would see that, but also will have a very nice ultra realistic style cinematic experience.

The film did the fest circuit where accumulated 19 wins and 14 nominations, including winning the Crystal Bear Special Mention for Best Feature Film at the 2006 Berlinale, Netpac Award at 2006 Rotterdam fest and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2006 Sundance fest. Mention these awards as the film is really beyond the gay interest genre.

If you do not mind hand held camera takes and ultra realism then I highly recommend you do not miss this movie.


Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

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