Monday, September 25, 2006

The Same Beat, Lower Octave

Years ago, in an episode of one of those investigative journalism shows (The Probe Team, I think), a young male hustler goes through the laundry list of his job description, from keeping himself attractive and desirable for his clients, to helping his family through financial hardship. It could've painted a typical picture of that side of the underground life if not for one telling plot-twist--the hustler actually enjoyed his job.

His perks were numerous. Apart from meeting diverse representatives of the homosexual spectrum, he gets paid, he gets gifts, and he gets to travel for free. Plus, he savored the psychological fulfillment of feeling wanted and special. In his experience limited by age and environment, he felt powerful.

His was a kind of character I had hoped would pop up in Mel Chionglo's Twilight Dancers, if only to provide a strong counterpoint to the worn-out tale of macho dancers who lead sad, dreary lives.

The third of the "macho dancer trilogy," preceded by Midnight Dancers and Burlesk King, Twilight Dancers peeks into the lives of three men. The first, played by Tyron Perez, is the new young star. The second, played by Allen Dizon, is the has-been who wants to play it straight. The third, played by Lauren Novero, left the profession to be a full-time minion of Cherry Pie Pichache's Madame Loca, one of those corrupt, moneyed folks.

While Midnight Dancers was more exploration, and Burlesk King was more edge, Twilight Dancers was more introspection. Sadly, the latter's three lead actors are still pretty raw in the internalization department, thus nearly neutralizing the pathos. Lawrence David's naivete was affecting in Midnight Dancers, and Leonardo Litton proved to be a natural in Burlesk King, but there wasn't one lead actor in Twilight Dancers who emotionally grabbed me. The closest was Lauren Novero, but the script didn't give him much to work with.

The protagonists of the macho dancer "genre" typically lead desparate lives and are shackled by circumstances and bad decisions. People in power are corrupt and will profit from the weak. Life won't get any better... Like many of its ilk, the film tells us what we already know, and I find that to be the biggest disappointment. Never mind that the dance sequences looked more like space fillers than events, or that the supporting characters were more interesting to watch. As the third part of a controversial trilogy, Twilight Dancers could have pulled out all the stops but, in the end, paled in comparison to its predecessors.

1 comment:

Jac said...

the local movie industry should really push their creative boundaries instead of just going for shock and awe :)


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