Monday, October 1, 2007

Moreno (Bronze)



In Moreno, Cris Pablo, that trailblazing godfather of gay digital movies, finds the connection between the real-life plight of T'boli women in South Cotabato and the fictional story of one man who suffers from a boyfriend with an itch for multiple sex partners. What's the connection? Polygamy. On a socio-anthropological level, Moreno is an inquiry into the nature and effects of man's mysterious need for more and merrier.

The strange mix of documentary-style ethnographic study and gay domestic melodrama makes for an uneasy viewing. The parallelism remains cerebral and remote. We never do get to see how polygamy in tribal tradition informs modern gay mash-ups or vice versa. The lead character Cris, a scorned lover played warts-and-all courageously by the director himself, journeys through all that trouble only to prove himself righteous in matters of fidelity. The tone is middle-ground too: cold and a little too academic. I do wish it were a sexier film, considering the ready-to-bare actors already on board. Who knew a movie about multiple gay boinking could be so sterile? I guess that's brave, but also a let-down. Maybe the X-rated original version, disapproved by the MTRCB, is a livelier film?

Even with a boom in small, gay-themed films, from Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros to Ang Lalake Sa Parola, and the studio-financed same-same in between such as Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah, Cris Pablo seems to be the only filmmaker today who tackles the "alternative" in alternative lifestyles. As in his first feature Duda, the dillemas in Moreno are the difficult round of gay conflicts. It's not a romantic fantasy in which boy-girl has simply been substituted with boy-boy. The questions -- about open relationships or "May bakla bang monogamous?" -- are mined deep from a very specific gay experience. So far, Cris Pablo is the lone voice of gay dysfunction in urban Philippines. Moreno may lack appeal or entertainment rewards, but in the future, when aliens seek to learn about what plagues homosexual relationships in Metro Manila in the 2000's, we'll point to Duda, Bath House, and this.

GRADE: C

Related Link:
Review by LoudCloud

5 comments:

cris pablo said...

wow! thanks for the review... thanks for being nicer, or should i say, as our teachers in up diliman would always bring up in class: "critiquing well in a manner that helps more than crush"... we were told that the real critics are the ones who, no matter how they hated the film, will balance it with whatever positive trait they can single out as well about the film... i believe your critique of not just movies but also anything about gay things is personal yet constructive... while you point out what you didnt like about what you saw, you put context as well... thanks!

Anonymous said...

i've seen the film and have noticed the following:
1. the director is also the lead actor
2. the acting is terrible
3. the plot jumps from one idea to another
4. the editing makes the plot even more confusing

all in all, i believe in the idea behind the project, but it was not conveyed in the best possible light. i would give it a grade lower than C because it was torture to sit through that movie

JOSH said...

hey got ur link from miong, i c dat ifications is also linkd here! Although this site is only started in august, i have substantially reviewed all forms of genre from mags to commercials, shows to movie & dvds! coool!

next time i buy/watch these things, i'll gota read ur review first! any review for d new Metro HIm, Johnron's Hubad dvd, and much hyped Xray 2008 Calendar? :)

JOSH said...

sori, i should have typed in my above comment "you" have substantially reviewed all genre of "m2m" droll worthy subject!

Just bought the DVD of Moreno, cause i want to watch d movie myself! :)

Anonymous said...

Three persons documenting the plight of the T’boli women who defaulted on their rights for pre-arranged marriages are themselves haunted b their own failing relationships.

The NGO woman Mawen confronts her philapdering husband in the city via cell phone. The documentary artist Cris suppresses his angst to a deteroriating relationship he left behind in the city. Arlan, the idealistic NGO co-worker slowly but painfully comes face-to-face with his denials and true self.

Nothing is completely resolved. But neither did it end in a stalemate. To Mawen and Cris, there is an acceptance to move on. To Arlan, there is a struggle to liberation from a trapped self. To the T’boli women, there is an option of escape other than submission and death.

From among the three haunting relatinships, perhaps, it is Arlan’s that will prosper as it only involves himself. Cris has to completely dump one person and years of living in, Mawen, a husband and a child. The plight of the T’boli women may never be resolved in this decade.

As a documentary as far as I saw it, Cris the writer and director of the digital film clearly presented this perspective. There other elements are as described in the trailer, just a tease.

Direk Cris, tell us more about:
1. Arlen Degullacion. Is he portraying himself too like the writer/director?
2. The nude group bathing ritual at the hot springs. Google does not have anything on it.