Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ang Sayaw Ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa


Marlon (Paulo Avelino) is having a hard time following his literature class and harbors a secret crush for the professor, a middle aged woman named Karen (Jean Garcia). He stalks her after class hours and learns that she also teaches dance, and so he enlists the help of his classmate Dennis (Rocco Nacino) who is also the assistant at the dance studio. Without plenty of dialogue the characters make their feelings flow through a mixture of poetry and dance.

One thing you will appreciate about this movie is its indirect approach to storytelling. There are not so many dialogues, and when there are the characters tend to be speaking in tongues, incorporating poetry and flowery words to substitute for normal daily conversations, of which this movie has only a few. There are no direct admissions of feelings, and even the one direct confrontation with straight-forward dialogue during the cotillion scene is done in a non-conventional manner that it still seems a bit artsy and choreographed but pleasing to watch. In a way, this movie does not feel like a movie at all. It seems more like poetry expressed through very interpretative dance routines captured on video.

One complaint is the quality of the video. Most of the scenes are blurry to the extent that it is difficult to read some texts on the screen that would otherwise be easy if it were, say, a mainstream movie. Whether this is intentional or not is hard to confirm. The scenes replayed during the closing credits seem clear enough. On the other hand it could be theorized that the director really blurred the images so that the message they want to convey would rather be received through the poetry and expressive movement, mainly demonstrated through dance, which is predominant in the movie. This is not so hard to believe because watching the film feels like watching a low resolution Youtube video on a huge flat screen TV, and because of this you tend to focus on other aspects such as the poetry and the dance routines to help you understand the story.

Watching the movie is like watching moving art. Sure, there is some focus on plot development but this is not given too much importance because the film is busy in its attempt to merge poetry and dance, which it does well, and would have been more impressive it the movie is not that hard to watch due to its blurry and grainy feel.

Avelino does what he can and has some awkward moments that could easily be forgiven. It could be said that he is the main protagonist here since his journey in that particular point of his life serves as the backdrop for the main story. Nacino does a better job in making his character shine through his movement and mannerisms. His character does not directly admit anything about his true feelings, but they just flow freely from his dance routines, his stares, and the lilt of his voice, which makes you marvel on the subtlety of it all.

Garcia’s character might be seen as merely supporting by most but she does a perfect job in leading the two newbies and setting a good example for them. She maintains a silent demeanor which adds to her character’s mystery, which is something that goes unresolved in the end. The moviegoer is only able to see a limited view of her personal life, which is just fine since her role in the movie is more on being just a guide for the two men, which could not be emphasized enough by her being their mentor in two different classes that both value art.

In summary, this is a good film that has to be seen through different levels of analysis just like one would in giving an interpretation of poetry. It is something to be appreciated not through the way the plot unfolds or how gripping the story is, but rather through the way that the director has chosen to present his narrative as some form of beautiful art.

4 creature(s) gave a damn:

Ginoong Ang said...

thanks for the comment. unfortunately, the "blurriness" of the picture of the film is not intentional. it's the theater's projector that's a problem. given our limited indie budget, we weren't able to rent a better projector because of its costs.

i wish you can see it in its intended version. we actually won Best Cinematography in Cinemalaya and the cinematography of the film was highly praised in Hawaii and other international screenings.

thanks again for the review. we appreciate your comments and we are grateful for your praises.

ihcahieh said...

@Ginoong Ang - Thanks for clarifying this. I really had the impression that it was intentional, but I enjoyed it still. If a DVD comes out I'd gladly buy a copy. =)

Jon said...

It's so sad that such a movie is not available anywhere... on DVD or online for purchase... >.<

ihcahieh said...

@Jon - sad to hear that. Hope you find a copy somewhere else.

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