(aka 'The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros')
There aren’t many love stories about a rookie cop and a 12-year-old boy, but in
many ways that’s what young Filipino director Auraeus Solito’s debut feature
offers. Maxi (Nathan Lopez) is an unapologetically effeminate Manila lad who
gets on surprisingly well with his gangster pa (Soliman Cruz) and street-thug
brothers, teasing each other or taking in a DVD in the modest home that Maxi
keeps with pride when not swishing fabulously around the slum streets. Tension
arrives in the beefy shape of new man on the force, Victor (JR Valentin), who
presents Maxi with an appealingly robust model of manhood by determining to
overcome the laissez-faire corruption that, problematically, allows his family
to thrive. The bond that develops between the two is affectionate and intense
enough to get tongues wagging at home and down at the station, where Victor’s
zeal is almost as unwelcome as it is on the street.
Made on a shoe-string with generous help from friends and family, this is not without its rough edges: Michiko Yamamoto’s script sets up some intriguing conflicts but comes to a somewhat fumbled climax. But the occasionally handmade feel, hand-drawn credit sequence and all, works to the film’s benefit. It’s hard to resist the raucous, vivacious tone encapsulated in its bold, vibrant wardrobe and set dressing and Lopez’s charming and affecting pivotal performance, all of which yields a vivid sense of a capital city rarely seen on screen. Solito also has a cheeky cinephilic sensibility: the haughty chutzpah of the closing homage to ‘The Third Man’ is worth the admission alone.
Theatrical Release: July 13th, 2005 - Philippine Independent Film Festival
DVD Review: TLA - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
CLICK to order from:
|Distribution||TLA - Region 1 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 5.50 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English / Filipino / Tagalog (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
|Subtitles||English (burned in)|
TLA's treatment of fine films to DVD is becoming progressively worse... and worse. The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros DVD breaks ever rule in digital disc production - non-anamorphic widescreen (in some made-up, cropped, ratio of 1.72:1), burned in subtitles (non-removable), rife with combing (see last capture) and rendered to a puny single-layered disc. Come on! This film deserved much better. The colors and detail are barely acceptable and the deficiencies definitely impinge upon viewing.
Supplements are non-existent with a photo gallery of poor quality images and three trailers (including one for this film). I enjoyed this quirky movie but I know I would have appreciated it even more if I wasn't shaking my head at all the very noticeable 'combing'. Really.... I have friends who could have done better in their basement with a decent VHS copy - they probably could have added a commentary too. The film is worth seeing but this DVD is a travesty.