Saturday, June 10, 2006

Epiphany from Manay Po (Part 2)

The stars soon arrived--Cherrie Pie Picache, Polo Ravales, Christian Vasquez, et al.--and screams erupted from the orchestra, very much like what you'd hear in those noontime variety shows. I couldn't imagine how manic it might have been outside when they promenaded down the red carpet.

Even as they waited in their seats for the movie to start, the fans in the orchestra stood, screamed and shrieked in some amorphous bid to gain a blessing or two from their idols. The press hovered about the stars and cameras rolled. Soon, plastic-wrapped t-shirts flew like a frenzied flock, followed by some scrambling for the prized souvenirs. Gwyn and I proceeded with our celphone gameplaying.

The proceedings took a calm turn when the opening credits played, only to be broken again by more shrieks punctuating the appearance of a big star's name. Then more shrieks as the said star first appears in the movie. It was only later that the fans slowly started to pay attention to the film itself.

I know of people who wouldn't touch a Filipino film with a hundred-foot pole. Some of them would watch a Pinoy movie only during the MMFF for lack of alternatives, or if the film was...well..."artsy." These people would say that the typical Pinoy film is baduy and nakakahiyang panoorin, and I would be the first one to say that, yes, there are Pinoy movies that neatly, squarely fall into this category.

But then I remember watching noontime variety shows with gusto. I remember even wanting to join one of those dance contests with my sister, back when the Wea, Vicor, Octo Arts, and Alpha dancers were in vogue, just in the wake of the mighty Aldeguer Sisters. I remember when Eat Bulaga had only Tito, Vic and Joey. I remember watching Loveli-Ness, Sharon, Maricel, and Always...Snooky. (Though I could never relate to Discorama.) I remember enjoying Nakagapos na Puso, Pinulot Ka Lang Sa Lupa, and Friends In Love, and even a Lotlot-Monching or Janno-Manilyn tandem on occasion. I was a big fan of Maricel Soriano tearjerkers--Separada is one of my fave domestic drama movies--I watched it four times, and again when it appeared on cable years later.

I enjoy watching Wowowee!, which can be said to be up there in the baduy scale, though a lot of my friends can't seem to get the point of the show.

The whole Manay Po red carpet shriekfest brought me back to that place when baduy wasn't a four-letter word, but more of a frame of mind, much like the way the song-and-dance of Bollywood had its own unique, though at times incomprehensible, appeal. (I must clarify--Manay Po wasn't baduy in my book. While it wasn't pure genius, it was enjoyable and watchable.) I suppose being exposed to more artsy films during the past decade created a strange swirl in my head. Now that I think about it, the Zaturnnah story could have been a product of that strange swirl.

Anyway, when Gwyn and I exited the theater, I had to hastily avoid the camera-on-duty. I wasn't ready to shout "Ang ganda-ganda ng pelikulaaaaa!!!" for all the world to see. I think that would be too baduy for me.


Manay Po is a fun film with Cherrie Pie Picache playing mom to three brothers--Polo Ravales, John Pratts, and Jiro Manio. Ravales is a closet case, Pratts is a flamboyant "byukonera," and Manio is...well...not really gay but could be. And it is here where I find a rather refreshing take on the Philippine homosexual.

While I wasn't much impressed by Pratts, whose effeminate manner seems forced and stiff, Ravales and Manio shine. Ravales proves that he's not just a Folded and Hung hunk. He handles the closet case well, and his dynamic with on-screen lover Luis Alandy is convincing as a whole. As for Manio, whose subplot is indie-film worthy, his portrayal of being not-really-gay-but-might-be is full of knowing subtlety.

I felt bad, however, that Cherrie Pie Picache's role was one-dimensional despite her subplot being a foundation for the entire story. Her character's hunky lover, played by Christian Vasquez, appeared to display more depth. Vasquez was notably charming here.

The script was mostly solid despite some lapses into the "duh" zone, but I can't comment much on it since I heard that there were alterations during actual filming.

1 comment:

decorator said...

i remember watching 30 minutes of mara and clara's lives every afternoon before...

you have a point there carlo, ika nga sa isang pinoy game show--- may tama ka!

and yeah... baduy is a five letter word... hehheheh... not four.


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