Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hugot



The three connected stories in Hugot each have a homoerotic bent. In "Anton", two guys in white briefs are play-acting a kind of surreal hotflash episode. It's pretentious in a psychodramatic and avant-gardish sort of way, but hey, the guys are in jockeys, they're far from body perfect but they're pleasant, so the preposterousness amounts to silly fun.

In "Bimbo", a couple of nursing student activists get coerced into a twisted strip game masterminded by a swishy gay man and his horny fag hag. It's also pretentious -- this time in a politically allusive sort of way -- but the guys do end up naked, with one dangling peekaboo. The episode practically screams it's a political one, yet remains frustratingly vague about what exactly that politics is. However, it is entertainingly over-the-top and ridiculously campy, especially when the sexy but naive female maid joins in.

"Raymond" is a more conventional drama, about a pensive hooligan who finds ways of earning money for his hospitalized brother, including turning gay tricks. This thread features the hottest fresh face in the cast, Jerome Ebreo, who's perfect as the kind of sexy young man you probably can't trust. Elsewhere, the ensemble includes Christopher Canizares, Cris Castillo, Alvin Espinosa, Jaws Andrada, Eric Bejo, and Keno Abela.

The most satisfying part of Hugot comes when we finally make sense of the glue that links the three stories. But it's merely a nifty trick, because although a certain unity is created, the movie doesn't really achieve coherence. You may say to yourself: At last, the story makes sense! Only to ask later: Does it, really? Hugot, though fun, is ultimately a splattering of thinly articulated themes.

The theme of power and subordination rings clearest, but rather alarming. All of the homosexual characters in the movie are persons who wield their money and authority at their straight young baits. (They are: the gay cop who pays for sex, the gay housemaster who throws money at his toys, and the tranny who just won 8 thousand pesos at a beauty pageant.) Hugot takes the ruthless view that the power of homosexuals is money while the power of straight men is sex, that straights and gays are in a continuing, generation-after-generation struggle for dominance, and that the state of being desired by a homosexual is essentially a state of victimization. It is perhaps only a depiction of reality when Raymond uses his sexual upperhand to turn the tables on the victimizing class -- to seduce then harm a gay man for monetary gain, justified as an act of survival. It's a relevant issue in our age when men who extort money from their gay lovers is public news. In a movie like Hugot, we must ask: When does a depiction of a prevailing stereotypical mindset also become a dangerous propagation of the same?

GRADE: C+

Related Links:
Hugot on Multiply
Positive Review by Cesario Minor Jr.
Jerome Ebreo on Victorio Modeling Agency

3 comments:

JOSH said...

watched it last time sa UP diliman and didn't like it at all. :-(

dazedblu* said...

the blog is really really nice! and kewl reviews btw :)

andrew said...

Please watch this upcoming film by Jowee Morel, the same Director who made "Mga Paru-parong Rosas" and "When A Gay Man Loves" under Outline Film Production entitled "LATAK" (Residue). You can watch the full trailer at www.latakmovie.com

SYNOPSIS
When a young director Andrew Locsin discovers the cruel betrayal of his lover and friends, his vice triggers a destructive entanglement of his dark past.
An ordeal that was haunting his unconsciousness and graphic
memory, surfaces. Thrown into a mix of spine-chilling hallucinations and paranoia he comes face to face with the mysterious ghosts of a mother and a girl. With no one to trust, the demons in his nightmares appear in his fight for survival in a horrifying doomed reality.
Extracted from a tumultuous true to life events, the film will take you into the dark side of grim reality.

CAST:
Marc Jacob
Zach Urdaneta
Mercedes Cabral
Chanel Latorre
Pia Millado
Special Participation:
Chito Alcid
Tia Pusit
and
Boy Villasanta
Directed by Jowee Morel
www.latakmovie.cm
www.latakmovie.com
www.latakmovie.com