Peeling a banana or chopping an onion is an easier task to enjoy than investing a degree of empathy on the narrative being told in the movie “Pagnanasa” (Desire).
The story is told from the point of view of Carlos (Charles Delgado) who opens the movie with a lay in the hay. Lovely ass, notwithstanding, he rationalizes with a cinematic apology of his sexual orientation. He is gay. Then his story unfolds further.
Carlos dreams of the better life in the big city. When he lands a job (as a resort waiter), it was his way out. So he bids his mother (Dexter Doria) goodbye. In Manila, aside from waiting tables, he hooks up with predatory gay men for their hand outs. One day, he meets Nick (Marco Morales), after a chance encounter at a sari sari store (bwahaha). In the same first encounter, Nick embraces him like there’s no tomorrow – and they supposedly fall in love. But something was awkward, and despite the undeniable connection, they can’t seem to consummate their affair. “Bakit nahihirapan tayong magmahalan? Ang aking nararamdaman ay walang halong pagnanasa,” explains Nick! Get mo?
Enter Rosanna (Sofia Lee), which Carlos describes as “isang matapang na sundalo ng kahirapan”. She is uncouth and vulgar – but how else does a street walker carry herself, right? She meets Carlos and gets infatuated with the nubile boy, she even offers herself “for free”. After being rejected for her advances, she feels dejected. To make matters worse, she gets thrown out of her room for not having paid her rent in the last 6 months. When all hope is lost, she turns to ending a life in shambles. Just when she was to jump off the bridge, Nick rescues the damsel and takes her home with him – and Carlos. They share dinner as though it was just another ordinary day. “Ah, siya yung babaeng gusting kuman__t sa yo?” asks Nick, then prods further, “Pagbigyan mo na!” And if that light banter was intended for someone who just failed an attempted suicide, we should hand Nick a gold medal for his sensitivity, right?
While the trio enjoys the ensuing hilarity of the matter, Carlos suddenly comes up with a brilliant idea. He wants to visit his mother, and take Nick and Rosie along with him for a provincial sojourn. While relaying each of their sob stories, a secret unfolds. Spoilers here! Both Nick and Rosie were given away as children by their birth mother! And by great serendipitous design, fate gathers them in the presence of their real mother who is Carlos' mother as well! So over a loud canned music and a blabbering narration, 4 absolutely vapid souls hug each other for a tearful and heart wrenching reunion! Bravo!
Now I have to commend the gall of the film’s director for braving the unknown – for his masterful direction the caliber of a drugged out parrot, and for his dwindling sense of direction. At several instances, I was just perturbed by his aimless story telling! Let’s take for example the protracted scene where Rosanna is narrating her own sob story to Carlos. She was sold to an abusive couple who turned her a muchacha. As soon as she grew melon boobs, her uncle (John Apacible) started showing interest. At one point, he grabs her boobs while she was fixing the bed. When she screams for help, her auntie (Karla Estrada) dismisses it as though he was caught picking his nose. As though washing his hand would suffice to clean up the mess. In another scene, she wakes up with her uncle fondling her body. In yet another scene much later, her “tito” was caught pleasuring himself as he peeps through the bathroom window – and Rosie was soaping away in wild abandon. When he invites himself inside the bathroom, Rosie screams, puzzled with her tito’s demeanor! She reasons, “’Di ko sya pinaghinalaan. Sinabi kasi nyang lagi kong iwanang bukas ang pinto.” Boy, she is as stupid as a skunk! After catching him mashing her tits while she was asleep, she wouldn’t suspect him of a devious plot to get in her pants? Is anybody up there?
There is a judicious show of body parts from Sofia Lee. Even the boys, Marco Morales and Charles Delgado, were generous showing their full frontal and backside assets at some scenes. These singular moments are, after all, the raison d’etre of this two-bit film work. A bit of cock, a bit of ass, a bit of tits! Ka-ching! Who cares if the one megging the picture has an I.Q. of 10?
Before I forget, this is (mis)directed by Fellyx Honeyfield.