'Dagitab' sparks interesting conflicts but lacks the clever ending9:28 AM
CCP's Main Theater felt extra cold when Sandino Martin sucked the blood from Martin del Rosario's bleeding finger. For several years in his young showbiz career, rumors doubting del Rosario's sexuality never subsided. Here he is, bravely accepting a role with homosexuality as among its themes.
The venue was extra quiet when Martin exchanged long and deep kisses with Eula Valdez at the beach. If not for the breathtaking shot with special effects maneuvering the waves to run the opposite direction, it would be too steamy to handle.
At the forest earlier in the movie, Nonie Buencamino flaunted a bare butt while making love to a fictional woman who he himself created in his book. While the audience was busy thinking if the woman owns the face that was buried and eaten by worms in the opening scene, the imaginary intercourse lasted for almost 10 seconds.
Which of those are true? Which of those scenes is a movie within a movie? This is what Dagitab did best: sparking interest. If only it was able to sustain it. If only it was punctuated with an equally mesmerizing ending.
Eula Valdez and Nonie Buencamino play husband and wife who are both teaching and doing research at the University of the Philippines. Thrown together by their passion for writing, the couple also think their love for the same craft is what's pushing them apart. Dagitab tells us the struggles of how long-term couples try their best to keep the romance after life has gone monotonous.
Then came Martin del Rosario's character, the son of Eula's friend and also an aspiring writer. He is 25 years younger but falls in love to who he calls "tita" when she taught him how to explore the endless possibilities of writing. Nonie's character on the other hand, becomes too obsessed with his book, the same piece he has been writing for almost more than a decade. He treks into the woods, insisting that there is truth to his own fiction.
Eula is known for her intense portrayals in soap operas but she was able to keep up with the film's requirements of restraint. This was easily equaled by Nonie. Even Martin, who dealt with the film's second conflict - his struggles with his sexuality, was able to position himself in the similar tone as his more experienced co-actors. But they could only do so much.
Unlike the first half where the film navigated through subtle emotional conflicts in between the characters, it got to a curvy state and eventually got lost in the final stretch. There were moments when I thought the movie was about to end and I found it to be OK since the curiosity is gone and the mysteries were settled. But one more scene appeared, then another, and then three more. You ask 'What are these conversations for?' The film just resists to end!
Dagitab is a beautiful material where half was decently executed. It was an honest tell-all of a social issue we are having a challenge to post judgment on. Do we really hate cougars? Do we hate all of them? But isn't it true that we understand their reasons that sometimes we found the situation cute? It is maybe because of these confusing arguments that the movie had cluttered closing moments. It was a conclusion that went along with the standards of our society today but it was not told as clever as it should have been.