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)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

McVie Does Dose

Dose is Spanish for twelve, an awkward age for most boys. It is also fitting, for Dose is an awkward film for me to watch.

But first, here are the things I liked in Senedy Que’s indie film. If I also had a gardener like Danny, played by Yul Servo wearing only sando and yum-yum short-shorts that advertise the true measure of a man, then punyeta, mababakla ako ng over, pakshet! Fritz Chavez, as the young Edy, has his winsome moments. Irma Adlawan is terrific as Helen, Edy’s aunt; her hickey scene in front of the altar is a premiere acting class on great timing and subtlety. And Emilio Garcia as the older Edy has grown into a confident actor who can easily essay “swishy gay” as much as “macho gay”.

The movie-within-a-movie touch brings a certain gravitas to the opening credits “a personal film by Senedy H. Que”; kudos to Senedy for that brave insinuation that the story is more than fictional. That wonderful scene with the two Edys in one frame captures the poignancy of the present acknowledging the weight of the past.

And I like how the film manages to pull the rug from under my feet twice, especially in the cemetery scene (“Awww, he’s dead. No wait, is he dead?”), by playing along with my expectations.

Disappointing are the small yet irritatingly noticeable stumbles. It bugs me when, while cutting from one angle to the next, the swing where Yul and Fritz are on would either be moving or still, depending on who’s within the camera frame. In the opening scene, Fritz is shown watching and mimicking dialogue from the movie Ina Ka Ng Anak Mo at the lobby of a movie house. Were betamax machines already that accessible and prolific back in 1979, enough for a small provincial moviehouse to afford placing one in their lobby? And the loving tilt up shot, showing Yul’s half-naked body in all its glory—what was that for? To show that the priest was ogling Danny?

The transfer to the big screen also leaves much for improvement—of course the director need not have any control over this. I’ve seen better transfers; here, the very brightly-lit scenes in the garden look almost solarized. Argh.

Though he has a winsome air about him, Fritz still lacked the skill to effectively essay an effeminate kid; Nathan Lopez’s Maximo Olivero is still the current benchmark. Emilio is brave, but those long lingering shots of him made it more obvious that he comes this close to relying on ticks and mannerisms. And Yul is yummilicious and a committed actor, but really, his voice is something that I really need to get used to. Sigh. Not his fault really, but it took me five to ten minutes before my ears adjusted to the sound of his voice, during which watching him was an awkward experience. Just like the movie.


PikaBucks said...

is this still being shown? where?

joelmcvie said...

@PIKABUCKS: I watched it in Robinson's Galleria. Not sure how long it will be showing, but definitely by the 25th wala na yun to make way for the film festival.

Sherwin Villegas said...

hope to find a copy..looking for so long and i havent found a copy of this indie films...

Sherwin Villegas said...

where can i buy a copy of this movie?

joelmcvie said...

@SHERWIN: Sadly I have yet to see a DVD copy of this indie being sold (legitimately) in stores. I must admit, though, that I've not been looking at the VCD shelves, nor have I searched for it in pirated DVD shops.