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Rory B. Quintos
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I have known about this movie when it was one of the featured films in the recent Cinemalaya Film Fest. However aside from the terrible title, the synopsis describing a film an elderly gay man with his dog was so bleak, it did not interest me at all. Maybe because it won Eddie Garcia a Best Actor award, it was given a commercial run which was good, but I still did not have a plan to watch it. Well, that is until this morning when I found out that this film will be our country's entry to the Oscars Foreign Language Film category for this year. Honestly, that was the only reason why I felt I should give it a chance after all.
Unfortunately, this film turned out to be as bleak and as dry as its synopsis suggested. It was indeed about an elderly gay man named Rene (Eddie Garcia) and his dog Bwakaw (played by an "aspin"/"askal" named Princess). The drama played for an hour and a half or maybe more, as slow, as straightforward and as predictable as that.
There were of course some people in his neighborhood he interacted with, like his nosy next-door neighbor Nitang (Beverly Salviejo), the gays at the beauty salon (Soxie Topacio and Joey Paras), his co-workers in the Post Office (Luz Valdez and Allan Paule), the priest who was always seen fanning himself (Gardo Versoza) and the tricycle driver the old curmudgeon decided to befriend (Rez Cortez). The elegant Ms. Armida Siguion-Reyna stood out in her featured role as Alicia, the girlfriend Rene kept hanging for 15 years, only not to marry. I see the name of Bibeth Orteza in the cast list, but I honestly do not remember seeing her in the film.
OK, there were some scenes that made me laugh. There was even a scene that made me tear up. There was a scene that I felt certain was bound to happen, it did, but I wish it did not. However, the main fault of this film is that there were no big surprises at all. There were no hidden symbolism or deeper meanings. It did not challenge me think at all. I felt I have seen this same story of growing old lonely told many times before in many a made-for-TV drama show. "Bwakaw" is not really that bad, but is this it? Is this really the BEST we have to show the world this year to compete for the Oscars?
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