Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

See Sikil

Just saw Sikil (international title: Unspoken Passion), a gay-themed indie digital film shown at the IndieSine in Robinson’s Galleria. Now, a main peeve I have against most gay-themed films (especially dramas) is their penchant for killing off one (or two) of the main gay characters, usually one (or both) of the lovers. As in! What do they want to say, gay love is doomed? Only in comedies do they escape the Grim Reaper’s scythe, which I guess is why I stick to comedy.

But to my pleasant surprise, this movie directed by Roni Bertubin does not end with death. In fact it ends on an almost happily-ever-after. Almost.

clockwise: Wil Sandejas (top), Ken Escudero (bottom... and yes, this is also a hint as to what happens in the movie, but there’s a further surprise!), and Ashley Silverio

Enzo (played by my newest crush Ken Escudero, whose face I find distractingly cute) and Adong (Wil Sandejas, “er”-sexy but whose acting is distracting) are childhood friends. The former is secretly in love with the latter, who is more interested in another childhood friend, Melay (played by Ashley Silvero who shows of her considerable nipples in a wet t-shirt scene intended to—what for?!—placate the straight males in the audience... what straight male audience?!) Adong and Melay elope to Manila; Enzo follows. But in the city Enzo becomes a performer in sex videos and at gay joints (and apparently he is an in-demand performer—he can afford a decent townhouse unit).

One day he and Adong meet as performers in a sexy cowboy act (a tip of the ten-gallon hat to Brokeback Mountain); it seems that Adong, who is wily enough to know that his considerable manhood is his ticket to a better life, has become as a male dancer and boy-for-hire. Melay is long gone, having run back to her family in the province while leaving Adong with their love child. Enzo takes both father and daughter to his place, giving the director an excuse to go on an MTV-ish montage of the three playing “happy family” while cutting into close-ups of Enzo looking lovingly at Adong on the sly. He even kids his friend, “Don’t I get a kiss?” whenever Adong leaves for work. Cuteness ensues, and the predominantly gay audience swoons.

Is this a fairy (pun intended) tale for the pink audience? Hey, Hollywood churns them out by the hundreds; it’s nice to be able to get one for us once in a while. Besides, this isn’t a glossy fairy tale ala-Enchanted. The increasingly default setting of indie films (the grimy underside of the city) makes Sikil more down-to-earth; plus the not-so-neat plotting avoids a “happy-ever-after” ending. But for a change the movie ends on a high note. In furnezz.

There are some lapses in the script (in one Very Important Scene which was meant to be touching, the line uttered by Adong made me wanna scream out loud, “Whaddapakshet?!”), camera work (the jittery handheld was distracting in some scenes) and other technical aspects, but hey. At least this move managed to engage me enough without tripping off my What-the-fuck-were-they-thinking?! meter too often. Most movies of this milieu manage to make me snap out of it several times before the end credits roll. In Sikil I only rolled my eyes to the high heavens once.

Then again, just one look at Ken’s mournful gaze aimed at his “er”-riffic friend and I toss my critical cap off.

* * * * *

Sikil is showing at IndieSine, Robinsons Movieworld, from January 16 until January 22, 2008.

1 comment:

aries said...

tita dream life ko yan... kakainis manood... charot!