Sunday, July 28, 2013

David F

♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

During the Filipino-American war, several groups of African American soldiers were sent to the Philippines to help defeat the rebellion. Some of them defected, joining the very same insurrection that they were supposed to stop. One of them was David Fagan. His story runs parallel to that of David F (Dax Martin), a gay impersonator in modern day Pampanga and one of the many Amerasians in Angeles searching for their origins that they never knew. All in all, the film serves as the story of anyone with African-American roots, but born and raised on the other side of the Pacific.

The movie shuttles back and forth between past and present and this somehow makes it rather difficult to watch. While the juxtaposition is admirable and displays some parallelism worthy of discussion, the excessive use of such eventually becomes a burden and comes off as quite gimmicky after a while, especially when you finally realize that the similarities between the David F of the past and the David F of the present is actually limited.


The film, however, succeeds in two aspects: acting and the quick history lesson. While many would argue that the scenes in the past are too lengthy for their own good, one could not deny the significance they have in showing us a glimpse of how life was back then during the war. Aside from this, though, the specific focus is on the role played by that certain demographic: the African American soldier and his role in that little corner of history. Most Filipinos would not really be in the know. We are just aware that there are many Amerasians in Angeles, but all we know is that they are there because of the US bases. This film tells you that their history extends further beyond that point in time.

In terms of acting, the characters in the past seem to be more fleshed out and worthy of empathy or maybe the audience just sees the current David F as a reflection of their very own struggles, which makes his plight less sympathetic because it mirrors the common day dilemmas of the ordinary Filipino. In short, his problems are too close to home for us to care. As for those in the past, the dilemmas they faced were definitely more serious and even life-threatening most of the time. Eula Valdes, Sid Lucero, and Art Acuña all deserve acting accolades for their performance here, regardless how short.

The main problem of the film is also its strength, which is in those scenes in the past. As the focus shifts, the current David F becomes more of a support character. He is not even the anchor of the story anymore, but is just present in the storyline as the obvious result of that long string of events in the past. It is because of this that the moviegoer might become less invested in the plot. After all, the movie begins with the current David F as the anchor of the story, only to be bypassed by his rather long family history.



2 creature/s gave a damn:

tom joad said...

Dear Ihcahieh,
We at Pinoy Rebyu would like to invite you to participate in our Film Bloggers’ Choice for the best of Cinemalaya 2013. We request you, after you’ve seen all 15 features and/or 10 shorts, to fill out your choices (not your predictions) for the categories below.

We will wait for your ballot until midnight of Aug 3 (Saturday) so we can publish the results by Sunday morning. You may email your ballot to slabastilla@gmail.com.

Thank you and happy viewing!
Skilty

NEW BREED
Best Film
Special Jury Award (Runner-up)
Best Director
Best Screenplay
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best Cinematography
Best Editing
Best Original Musical Score
Best Production Design
Best Sound

DIRECTORS SHOWCASE
Best Film
Special Jury Award (Runner-up)
Best Director
Best Screenplay
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best Cinematography
Best Editing
Best Original Musical Score
Best Production Design
Best Sound

SHORT FILM
Best Short Film
Special Jury Prize (Runner-up)
Best Director
Best Screenplay

ihcahieh said...

Hi Skitty,

Sorry! I'd love to, but I've only seen five, I think. Totally overlooked Cinemalaya this year. Had I known, I should have extended my stay in Manila kahit isang araw lang. Promise, next year, I will join!

Looking forward to the results!

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