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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jul 21, 2011

Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa Movie Review

THIS YEAR’S harvest from the Cinemalaya is definitely much better than any of the past years. Some of the entries in the New Breed category are so outstanding the works of some of the more experienced filmmakers in the Directors Showcase absolutely pale in comparison. Some entries in the New Breed will surely compete for honors even in next year’s award-giving derbies. A good example is a film that surpassed all our expectations, “Sayaw ng Dalawang Paa”. Writer-director Alvin Yapan’s first work, “Panggagahasa Kay Fe”, failed to impress us but this time, he has a better grip on his material and succeeds in realizing it on screen with much more taste and finesse. Even the technical credits are more polished this time.

The first local film to successfully combine dance and poetry, it’s a rare love triangle story with gay overtones that is beautifully understated and handled with much subtlety. It starts with with Paolo Avelino stalking his literature teacher, Jean Garcia, who also teaches dance. He then meets his classmate, Rocco Nacino, who tutors him on dancing so he can get closer to Jean. The undercurrent of Rocco’s sentiments for Paolo is very palpable but never articulated. You can feel the electricity between them when they dance and even Jean herself observes this, but it is never fully defined. That deeply moving but wordless scene where tears start to well up from her eyes while she watches Paolo and Rocco dance together is marvelously executed and extremely well acted by Jean who gives an exquisite, relaxed but very authoritative portrayal her seemingly simple but actually complex role. She even dances so well.

Rocco and Paulo sizzle in their respective roles. They’re a pleasure to watch, especially Rocco who has such an expressive pair of eyes and shines in his solo number where he gets to express in dance his internal turmoil that is not allowed to surface on the exterior. GMA-7 is lucky to have such fine young actors. The ending showing Paulo shedding a single tear while dancing with Rocco will blow you away. The use of the poems of Ophelia Dimalanta (SLN), Ruth Elynia Mabanglo, Benilda Santos, Joi Barrios and Rebecca Anonuevo is perfectly suited to the material, some of them beautifully set into music. This is an engaging and compelling piece of local cinema that should not be missed.