When Chris arrives at the village of T'boli in lake Sebu, South Cotabato, he thought he has left his dark recent past behind. He is working on commission as a video documentarist to make a ...
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When Chris arrives at the village of T'boli in lake Sebu, South Cotabato, he thought he has left his dark recent past behind. He is working on commission as a video documentarist to make a profile on the women T'boli and their changing views on multiple marriages. The most affluent men, called Datu, marry more than once and each time pays dowry to the family of the women they marry. When a young T'boli woman, Ngapon, tells Chris that she wants to be free from a marriage that was set by her parents and to go to Manila, Chris begins to confront waht he left in the city. Like the proud Datu with many wives, Chris has Denver, a bronze skinned lover in Manila, who is proud of his relationships. Denver lives with Chris in an apartment as partners yet he still goes into sexual and emotional relationships with other men. Ngapon's quest for freedom becomes Chris journey to a very sad dark past.Written by
Believe me, I watch more indie and foreign films than Hollywood movies, and many low-budget, non-English-language films are among my favorites. So my disappointment with Moreno is not due to a lack of appreciation for non-Hollywood film; the problem is that Moreno is simply really bad.
It's obviously an autobiographical work, and a therapeutic exercise for the writer- director who (just like the protagonist) is named Cris. This raises some difficulties as many such films fall into the trap of speaking to the director rather than the audience , and Moreno succumbs to this fate.
None of the characters are terribly interesting, and in particular, Cris makes an unsympathetic protagonist as he pursues a much younger man who seems barely of age. The reason why is revealed at the end, but it doesn't make it as a "reveal" since we are never engaged in the "mystery" to start with. Furthermore, the film-within-a- film documentary is even less engaging. Cris makes every mistake possible in filming a documentary about the plight of indigenous women on a rural island, but never shows any remorse, or any strong emotion at all. We know he is heartbroken from events that happened in the first few minutes of the movie, but it's hard to engage with a protagonist who only has one expression, a goofy, phony smile.
To top it off, the quality of video and audio is horrible. The film seems to have been shot with a cellphone.
This isn't an intriguing look at gay Filipino life like Beautiful Boxer or The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros. This is just something to pass on.
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