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)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Have A Break

I was supposed to go to the bathhouse last night, but due to a change of plans I ended up watching Daybreak at Robinson’s Galleria. When I entered the foyer leading into the cinema, I saw around 7-8 guys standing around, looking furtively at one another and at me; one of the guys was busy fumbling at his unzipped fly. Eh di parang nag-bathhouse na rin pala ako.

Directed by Adolf Alix, Jr. and starring Coco Martin and Paolo Rivero, “Daybreak” is a simple, straightforward story of a break-up (hello, this is not a spoiler; see trailer and title), interspersed with numerous shots that we’ll conveniently label as “The Many Beautiful Scenes Of Tagaytay”. In fact, Tagaytay seems to be a central character of the movie, with more screen time than either of the two pretty-to-look-at leads. Omigosh my gulay, Coco Martin is sooo delicious in this movie! Beside him, Paolo—who’s also good looking and exudes a yuppie appeal in this movie—pales in comparison. Did I say pale? When the two are naked, Paolo looks pasty beside Coco’s golden brown, smooth skin. But wait, I was talking about Tagaytay.

The alternative summer capital of the Philippines when Baguio was still reeling from the 1990 earthquake, Tagaytay is populated by summer vacation homes, inns and hotels. This transient nature of the place echoes in the relationship William (Paolo) has with JP (Coco), since the former is a married doctor whose wife is on the family way. The backdrop of the still-active Taal Volcano also acts as a metaphor for the “explosive” revelation that William intends to spring on JP that night (and no, it’s more than just having a pregnant wife). It’s quite telling that as JP showers, William goes to the sink beside the shower and washes his hands. Oh my gulay, grabeng ang sarap ni Coco! Butt shot kung butt shot! Tapos ang sarap pa niya tumawa, parang little kid. Ang cuuuuuuute! Ay teka, back to the movie.

The setting of two men alone in an almost empty house is supposed to be claustrophobic, to further force them to confront the issues in their relationship. But the director kept cutting away to wide shots of mountains, the lake and the vast open skies. And he did it way too often. So instead of being pulled into the main story, I was always pulled away into appreciating the beauty of Tagaytay. Heck, I wanna see Coco’s beauty! Playing the proverbial provincial lad, Coco’s JP has that simple appeal that’s catnip to urban, closeted yuppies. In other words, he’s infuriatingly cute—and I really mean that in a good way. As in, you want to bottle him up and bring him home. In one scene, he refuses to eat the spaghetti carbonara because he doesn’t like the taste—JP is used to the banana catsup-type of spaghetti served only during special occasions. But there was no other food there except the spaghetti. I wanted to jump onto the screen and into the scene, plop myself up on the dining table, and tell JP, “Eat me!” And JP’s wearing sleeveless shirts the whole time! Argh! Back to the movie.

In fairness to the two straight actors (don’t they all claim to be?) they attack their kissing/love scenes with determined effort. There has been a recent explosion of indie films that are blatantly gay-themed, but I have yet to see a sex scene between two men that actually sizzles. As in, ka-level nina William Hurt and Kathleen Turner in 1981’s Body Heat. But I guess that’s asking too much for our straight actors.

Still, on opening day the theater was packed (“packed” being a very relative term; here I’m referring to the usual number of indie film viewers per showing). I guess it’s because of Coco, who may be on his way to inheriting from Alan Paule the crown of Go-To Actor For Sodomy Scenes (Giving And Receiving) In A Non-Porno Film. I forgive you if you go loco over Coco after watching this movie.

And thank god they used a tripod.


ponch said...

hehehe...natawa ako sa side comments mo. ;D

BoobooStrider said...

and this is what I call REAL indie. I noticed that too - they finally used a tripod.

this is like brokeback mountain meets the break-up. nice concept. and i like the way coco put on a sad face when Paolo left.

In fairness, na touch ako sa movie although I can't help but giggle at the guy who most probably got bored and played PSP .. INSIDE THE THEATRE!


As I've said in my twit: great acting job... by the vertical Venetian blinds. If only Coco and Paolo had the same acting talent.

gibo said...

i love this review :-)

it is nice to be in manila at this time of the year. indie films galore, plus anti-GMA rallies on the side.