February 11, 2004

Of Milan and B Movies

I was at the jam-packed premiere of Milan last night in Megamall. I think I'd recommend the movie to you guys. I'd say it's one of the better Filipino movies around and definitely, the best movie of Direk Olive Lamasan. If you're a fan of her works, you will not be disappointed.

What I like about the film foremost is its excellent production values. The cinematography is really good. The movie reaffirms Shayne Clemente's status as one of the best DOPs in the P.I. Considering that they just did guerilla shoot in Milan, I have no apprehension in giving thumbs up to Shayne's work. Of course, this comes with the able direction of Direk Olive. Her shots are symbolic yet not stagey and flashy (unlike some in your face "hey, I'm a visual" director/s.) Direk Olive is also successful in giving out the best in the two leads Claudine and Piolo. While I'm not exactly a fan of the two when it comes to acting (they should take some voice modulation class or something), I think they were consistently good and gave out effective performances. Direk Olive is an actor's director so this comes as no surprise. What's pleasantly surprising though are the support cast who are just so excellent in their craft particularly Ryan Eigenmann (subtle and realistic acting), Iza Calzado (she can act! and she registers well on screen!) and the guy who played Ilonah Jean's lover.

The story is a bit similar to the Hongkong movie Comrades (which I also recommend that you watch). Lino (Piolo) goes to Milan in search of his lost wife and meets Jenny (Claudine), a toughened Filipina OFW who helps him through the process. Since this is a love story, it is inevitable that they eventually fall in love. The love story is just the backdrop though of the film's real core, which are the lives and loves of Milan's Filipino workers. Inserted in the movie are video interviews of real people telling their life anecdotes. Direk Olive also did ala-Dogville when Piolo as Lino becomes one of the interviewees in the end.

Of course, the movie's not that perfect. Some scenes come out melodramatic. Some lines might be consciously written to be trailer-worthy. It's too mainstream glossy. The disconnection of Lino and Jenny appeared "hilaw" to me. Since the story's premise of Filipinos living abroad was already tackled in Direk Olive's previous work, the URIAN winner Sana Maulit Muli, I think she was trying to avoid doing the same thing which is understandable. It's just that storytelling-wise, the Aga-Lea starrer for me is still better.

You know I'm not fond of love songs, or love stories, so I leave you to judge the film on the love angle. :)


Something to laugh about.... The following films are the films Rated B by the Cinema Evaluation Board (CEB)....

Magnifico... Milan... Filipinas... Mano Po 2... MY FIRST ROMANCE... :D


By the way, I was wrong about that liposuction thingy. ;)

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