Dramedy 'S6parados' lights up the Cinemalaya4:48 AM
It boasts a big cast ensemble, a glossy cinematography, and a collection of original songs. S6parados is introducing a different label of indie filmmaking for this year's Cinemalaya. With fast-paced storytelling and scene transitions, moviegoers who are not used to the usual treatment of indie films are reminded that they don't really need to bore themselves to watch the festival.
For the past three editions of the Cinemalaya, S6parados is among the more audience-friendly entries. In first glance, you'll think that it is readying itself for commercial release. However, you cannot underestimate the film when we talk about creative merits. It follows a nonlinear narrative where the lives of its six lead characters are interconnected and their stories are overlapping.
Mainstream actors topbill this movie. It would be an easy pick for Ricky Davao, however, to be the best performer. Not only because he is the most senior of all the actors experience-wise but Davao's well-calculated gay characterization is bolstered with sharp humorous moments. He portrays a married homosexual who is exploring his queer side with a young car dealer played by Jason Abalos. Nothing noteworthy for Abalos here, meanwhile, even as he played the darkest character which is marked with a wild sex scene (with pants on, of course) and a tragic death.
Contrary to the sex appeal, Victor Neri plays a man who is challenged to satisfy his wife in bed. This incompatibility later on brought up an annulment. I recall Neri as a shaved and armed goon but it's a pleasant surprise that he flawlessly shifted here to someone clean and gentle, a chef-businessman who speaks straight English. Obviously, age has caught up with one of our favorite action stars but it certainly is not the end of the road for Neri who is showing promise for drama.
Alfred Vargas has done an excellent job in co-producing the film. Nothing follows. But while the stripper turned alcoholic (basing only on Alfred's roles) Quezon City Councilor gave out an OK performance, comedy man Anjo Yllana exhibited flare for intense drama. His womanizer character who got fed up with a nagging wife may not be a breakthrough role but seeing Anjo exchanging dramatic lines with Sharmaine Arnaiz on the big screen is refreshing.
Erik Santos, on the other hand, is the wedding singer. You might react why not just watch ASAP but Santos was also engaged here in an acting situation. He is a physically and emotionally abused husband who reports to his work in a call center with bruises. To be fair with Santos, he performed decently in his first Cinemalaya. His shifting from singing to acting in this film is not a terrible idea but he needs to do a lot more to make it permanent.
GB Sampedro might owe it to experience why S6parados came out - not great but good - as he already made a movie with multiple protagonists via Astig in 2007 where he won Best Director. This material may be lighter, a contemporary comedy love story which is stranger to indie, but this film is among the most relaxed and entertaining the Cinemalaya could offer.