Cinemalaya 2014: S6parados (review)

The movie title should have served as a warning: why not simply “separados”? Why toy with an otherwise fine word? Why the need to insert ‘6’ (and therefore, mess with the pronunciation) to denote that the film features the lives of six separated husbands?

Sayang. Each of the six vignettes had promise. The actors were ALL excellent: kudos to the casting director for the coup, which included Victor Neri, Ricky Davao, Melissa Mendez, Anjo Yllana, Sharmaine Arnaiz, Jason Abalos, Althea Vega, Alfred Vargas, Erik Santos, Angel Jacob, Iwa Moto, Patricia Javier, Diana Zubiri, Katrina Halili, and Jace Flores.

Relative newcomers Ritz Azul, Althea Vega, and Kaye Rivera all hold their own and by no means stick out like sore thumbs. This is one of the best ensemble acting (by mostly established stars) which I’ve seen in a while.

Aside from the casting, the script’s dialogue, written by Eric Ramos, was stellar, too. I find the dialogue in Filipino films usually problematic, especially in ‘serious’ scenes where the lines tend to become too affected and formal. Here, with the help of the brilliant actors, everything is as natural and raw as they can be. Special mention to Ricky Davao, Victor Neri, and Melissa Mendez for their intuitive performances. (Also, with the exception of very few minor quirks, the English captioning was great as well.)

Despite the cliché topic—think of six reasons why husbands would be separated from their wives and you’d probably get five, if not all, correctly—the plot twists just enough to give the material some edge and a balanced sense of humor. (Though Erik Santos’s story was too much of a caricature in my opinion.) Again, I give a lot of credit for the principled and straightforward script.

This film, directed by GB Sampedro, could have been perfect, really. It’s unfortunate that the rawness and unaffected material had to be subjected to such a glossy treatment. Heck, forget glossy—this is a film dripping with sap.

All six vignettes, told in flashback, is anchored by a wedding scene, which features a soaring ballad, slow motion sequences, a voice over featuring the priest’s sermon—and, as if those weren’t enough—a pensive ghost milling about. The fact that this scene serves as the central point from which all six stories branch out means the audience is repeatedly subjected to this melodramatic and ingratiating spectacle every few minutes. I wish someone in post production held the director back from dumping all old-school soap opera techniques on that one scene. The last few minutes was sheer torture in its mushiness. (Sample: Ghost appears in foreground; looks far away, then turns his head and walks away.)

Again, sayang. As with the film’s title, all that fiddling merely ruined what would have been perfect in its raw and organic state.

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2 thoughts on “Cinemalaya 2014: S6parados (review)

  1. The Background Story says:

    It is a bit glossy yes but the script was really good. And the cast was all brilliant! Despite them being mainstream actors, natural ang dating. 😉

    For these reasons, I like it 😉 (although may igaganda pa nga sana) 😉

    Like

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