Thursday, January 6, 2011

Rosario (2010, Alberto P. Martinez)

Jennyln Mercado as the titular character.

I must admit that prior to seeing "Rosario", the last MMFF entry I've watched was "Lastikman" way back in 2002. Even though there wasn't much to catch up with this film festival (an annual Shake Rattle and Roll? Vic Sotto making those fantasy films with virtually the same tired jokes? Come on), "Rosario", by all means, must be seen by every Filipino moviegoers, critical or just plain escapists alike. The masterful cinematography was very crisp, capturing all the necessary colors and heightening them to create an almost "Amelie-esque" transformation (remember those Parisian streets oozing with vibrant hues?) of the 20's.

I do not know what's the basis of the said film festival for picking nominees, or maybe they were just too engrossed by the family-oriented Ai-Ai de las Alas starrer that they considered the immoral undertones of "Rosario" an immediate condemnation that may have led to its snobbery. And do not even get me started about Jennyln Mercado's performance that suffered the same fate. Really? Marian Rivera preferably nominated in a gay lingo-infested remake of a cheesy 80's comedy over Jennylyn's? Laughable. "Rosario" had its share of flaws, of course, such as Philip Salvador's pointed, obviously glued mustache, that jumping forearm attack (!) by Sid Lucero (great performance, nonetheless), and the unemotional, almost hollow appearance of the film's producer (and the man behind the story that eventually evolved into this feature film), businessman and Studio 5 head honcho Manny Pangilinan. They really should have gotten an actor instead.

I always remember how Bong Revilla's films (such as his CGI-driven reboot of "Panday") always boasts of its special effects being world class and all as if desperately playing a one-sided 'catch-up' game with Hollywood (yes, that's the mainstream Filipino film industry's constant, unabashed goal). "Rosario" need not any of those, and though it had its share of CGI, does not need any verbal proof of its technical sophistication. Because after all, "Rosario" is indeed a great film all on its own. No wonder why director Albert Martinez is quite calm and silent. Through the artifice of awards nights, the subsequent craze for the winners and beyond the snobbery, he is fully aware of his film's quality, and he is quite secure.

(Note: Many said that Dolphy's award-winning performance in this film was more of a pitiful final honor to his legacy than a genuinely deserved award. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I really do think it's the latter.)


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