Thursday, March 22, 2012

Darry de la Cruz's Daklot - Grabbing the Void

Charles Delgado and Rocco Mateo are good friends who share their hustling ways and desperate lives in dire straits. While Charles peddles his body during intimate massage gigs with supplemental service, Rocco dances for strip clubs and turns the occasional tricks. But both rent boys are tired of their concupiscent grind. They yearn for better lives. Meanwhile, Charles patiently waits for the gay politician who promised to liberate him from indigence. Rocco, on the other hand, prefers to settle down with Charles with whom he’s harboring reticent affection.

One day, a script writer (Eddie Litada) in dire need of a cinematic material finds Charles who wasn’t interested. The latter takes the writer to his friend Rocco who gladly spins spurious and fictitious tales about his throwaway life – and about a boy named Louie (Jeremy Ian). His story’s been barely unraveled when Rocco impetuously waves a dagger at the writer. Running away with his P5,000 stash, Rocco heads straight to Charles and offers him his affection. Charles accepts, but only until his “savior” – the gay politician – fetches and takes him away to the financially-stable horizon. Unfortunately, the politician never came. Charles soon learns that this was Rocco’s undoing. What becomes of the squabbling rent boys? Will the script ever get written?

Director Darry dela Cruz (“Bingwit”, “Exsena”) has drained himself from all vestiges of ideas. After all, his “Bingwit” was similarly about despondent brothers who moonlight as rentboys bent on hooking a rich benefactor (the film also starred Charles Delgado and Jeremy Ian – and even Ike Sadiasa in its cast). His “eXsena” was about making “indie” films using cash-strapped guys. “Daklot” (Grab) is conveniently a mismatched hybrid of Dela Cruz’s earlier cinematic forays; a shameless tautology of his works. Isn’t it too early for a director who has done this much to be blatantly and artistically destitute? Why is he already paying homage to himself by retreading exactly the same stories? How soon does one run out of ideas? More importantly, should one expect flowers blooming or fruits bearing when there wasn't even a plant to begin with?

Let’s delve into the director's vacuity:

When Rocco tells his tale to the scriptwriter, he says: “Dito sa isang napakalaking basura (garbage) napunta ang isang tulad kong basura. Pareho kami ni Louie; basura ang kahapon, basura ang bukas.” And if you wonder why Dela Cruz has unyielding affinity to “garbage” (which was mentioned in redundant splendor so much more than what’s written here), it could be because he’s comfortable with such environs. The magnetism of dump is consuming and all powerful.

More lines underline Dela Cruz’s mindset. When Charles elucidates on his job, “Kung napupudpod lang ang mga ari natin, siguro ubos na,” Rocco replies with a cryptic: “Sa laki nyang sa yo, di mapupudpod yan.” Are we really talking about genitalia like they are degenerating objects? Why is a drinking buddy aware of his friend's treasures? Do they compare during their inebriation? These declarative expositions are too far removed from normal conversation, you do wonder if Mr. dela Cruz lives in an intergalactic planet outside Earth.

The scriptwriter asked Rocco to expound further when he declared: “Mahirap lang ako”. With enlightened precognition, he replies: “Mahirap na mahirap!” How eloquent, right? LOL. Dela Cruz’s linguistic facility meanwhile flourishes - by leaps and bounds - when he describes the rates involved in compensatory sexual services offered by Charles as a masseur: “P4,000 pag pinasok ko. P3,000 kung BJ. P2,000 kung handjob. P1,000 kung daklot,” deftly explains Charles’ character. “Ano yung daklot?” asked the effete customer (Lady Gorgonia). “Pocket massage,” smiled Charles, as though the heavens suddenly ruptured into flickers of comprehension. Isn’t this fun? I so adore the documentary slices of Dela Cruz’s wild, but sparse imaginings.

Daklot heralds sex scenes thirsting with passion. They all look perfunctory and without ardor. The actors might as well pick their noses instead of dryly canoodling with their joysticks. Bathing scenes abound in “Daklot”: Charles Delgado, Jeremy Ian and Rocco Mateo all display their soaping and lathering talent in various techniques. But if there’s one thing more bothersome about the film other than its artistic disendowments, it would be Darry dela Cruz’s penchant for pairing his actors with cringe-worthy, spine-tingling, horror-caliber cast.

I’ve said this before: Eroticas are meant to lure their audience with sexually attractive and desirable beings. Not induce vomiting!Daklot” spotlights some of the most hideous individuals in several states of undress: a cachectic guy with a pockmark-ridden face; there’s a watermelon-bellied parlorista who lavishly displays his oversized gut. In these situations, cinemas should provide vomit bags the way airlines do for travels that take longer than an hour.

If carelessness were a sin, this movie would conflagrate til eternity. Here are more images that baffle:
Jeremy Ian painfully depicting an audition: “Tao din ako, Sunya!”
Gay benefactor to Charles: “Ulitin natin ito… pag pree ka at pree din ako.” Aren’t we all “pree” as a bird?

The opening scene has the script writer typing away in front of a computer screen. While his fingers move away, you suddenly notice the black outlines on the writer’s fingers. It made me shiver. How can someone display such filthy and cruddy nailbed to a curious camera? Is it so difficult to wash and scrub your hand before showing them on screen?

Even the film's conclusion is a familiar tack: Like his "Bingwit", the film delves into an act of violence from left of center. When this director finds himself lost in a state of indecision, he just repeats himself. Mas madali, debah, 'te? Producer Flor Ignacio, purveyor of 50% of these Pink Garbage is sheer shameless in employing accidental film makers who were picked from the gutter.

I am not exactly sure why Rocco Mateo succeeds in appearing from one film to the next (he was seen recently in Jigz Recto’sKasalo”). To be blunt about it, he delivers a line like he’s trying to stifle a toothache (imagine that). Moreover, his very round face, dark skin and flabby abdomen are features far from the standard movie lothario. Despite that, he contemptuously disrobes. He must be doing something right to be getting all these projects; something that isn’t too obvious or conspicuous on screen.
Can we peek behind cams then?

Jeremy Ian - His character Louie is a mere figment of Rocco's imagination. Yet even in Rocco's imagination, Louie does a mean lathering at the bathroom. Talk about persistence of vision. LOL

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