Friday, August 27, 2010

Dampi - Peculiar Hybrid of Gay Concoction & Religious Yarn

The Pink Film Phenomenon is continuously asserting its influence in the obstinate release of indie films. Fact is, the economics behind such phenomenon has somehow dictated the amaranthine releases from fly-on-the-wall producers and pedestrian artists. It's within Field of Dream's domain: build it, and they will come. In short, field any movie with homosexual flavor and the ever burgeoning community of the 3rd sex will fork out money to patronize it.

This trend is evident even in girlie-eroticas where nymphets used to hug the spotlight: we'd see starlets shower repeatedly within a movie; shed all articles of clothing from their dresser to their bed; gets molested, etc. Every darn excuse to disrobe. But these days, it's not the fairer sex, but the muscled variety who gets ogled at. Quick reference to this is that gay flick "Lagpas" where 90% of the film's male characters get their 10-minute bathing scene (we shall feature "Lagpas" here in the next few days).

We didn't realize "Dampi" was another pink film since we didn't read about it until we saw its poster at the cinema foyer. In fact, even the posters would suggest none of that. So we watched! And what do you know...

A cute pubescent boy stands by the hill, with his eyes closed. A white shawl is hoisted over his head, allowing the breeze to blow into undulating rhythm. This is Soltero, or Teryo (child actor Alec Romano), a soft-spoken teenager whose head is up in the clouds. He lives his days tripping off on Virgin Mary mirages - at least that's what the story implies. His father (Simon Ibarra) is hard on him, disgusted with his "paglalandi" which isn't evident anywhere in the story.

Then Robert and Sandy (Carlos Morales and Kirby de Jesus respectively) breeze into the picture. They're a couple of charlatans who move from one place to the next, tricking people into believing that Sandy's Virgin Mary statue is crying blood. Reluctant Sandy, upon his lover's persuasive prodding, would pretend to be blind, then re-enact a miracle at a pertinent time! Despite Sandy's occasional objections, Robert would threaten him with, "Kaya mong mabuhay na 'di ako natitikman?" Indeed we see them make love in scenes bristling with the passion of a fly - all facial maneuvering. Nope, the most that you see from Mr. Carlin Craig Woodruff (Mr. Morales to you) is the actor in his black briefs.

When Sandy meets Teryo, the scheme falls into its proper place. May himala! And people start trooping by the hillside, standing around like they were beamed into stolid statues. Unfortunately, greed's ugly head soon catches up with Robert and Teryo's father, and all their hushed intimations soon fall on the ears of Teryo's only friend Rina (Kristel Fulgar). A series of murder soon follows, and Sandy is awash with guilt so he runs away! This gives Robert the free rein to exert his influence on the affection-hungry 14 year old Teroy! Is our hero really seeing blessed apparitions? In a brisk 1 hour and 10 minutes, the movie will answer such ponderous query. We warn you it isn't quantum physics.

Child star Alec Romano cuts a dapper protagonist. He bears a calm presence that doesn't refute how comfortable he is on cam. He reminds me of a younger Rayver Cruz without the lapdog expression. I was picking my head where I could have seen him until I remembered that coming-of-age dramedy "Vhagetz". Further readings subsequently place him as a GMA talent ("Batang X", "Paano Ba Ang Mangarap") which I have no idea of, since I find GMA teleseryes prosaic, vapid.

The narrative is a curious hybrid of seemingly bright ideas that shines the spotlight on gay men: Teroy is gay, Robert and Sandy are a gay couple, a flashback on Sandy's past has gay uncles giving blowjobs to anonymous neighbors. It is such a gay gay world after all! To be honest about it, the first quarter of the movie showed a lot of promise. It had an interesting premise about an abused child who buries his head in the characters that populate the dramatic novels that he reads. Cinematography is more than adequate, what with Romy Vitug doing camera. To my mind, Director Nico Jacinto has a chance of redeeming himself in future projects since he conjures scenes that don't smack of a novice's awkwardness. Maybe it's Mr. Vitug's influence? But he will probably do well with a good story and a decent scriptwriter. Probably.

At the other end of the spectrum is the obvious intention to satisfy some demographics. So here's the perv's quota:

- nipple watch: Viva Hot Babe Zara Lopez shows 1 of the twins
- male genitals: 3 (unless I blinked and missed) - an outdoor bathing scene (unknown male), a BJ scene (unknown male), another guy urinating (unknown male). None of the scenes was necessary to move the plot.

The scanty sex scenes were few, and divested of emotions. As I mentioned earlier, they had the passion of a fly! ;->

Jaycee Parker cameos as the mysterious "white lady" clouding Sotero's sanity - who turned out to be his mother, while Matet de Leon had a "special participation" billing, though I wasn't too sure where she figured in the movie. The avenging Virgin Mary perhaps? (The credits didn't run a character list.) And for the record, shame on you, people, for depicting the virgin mother as an avenging soul - in a movie that showed penis! Surely, some topics are sacred and need to be restricted from the filthy hands of opportunistic film producers! Di na kayo kinilabutan.

Carlos Morales is Robert.

Alec Romano

Carlos Morales

Kirby de Jesus in another gay role: Virgin Mary gives Sandy glaucoma?

Zara Lopez: framed to kill

Jaycee Parker - Mother or Virgin Mother? Or is it just an itch on the scalp?

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