Thursday, August 7, 2014

Kasal - Cinemalaya Director's Showcase

Director: Joselito Altarejos
With: Arnold Reyes, Oliver Aquino, Rita Avila, Maureen Mauricio, Rener Concepcion

Synopsis from Cinemalaya: Kasal is a slice of life drama of a gay couple whose resolve to stay together is challenged as they attend a wedding. It also is an examination of how a gay couple navigates through the different institutions in Philippine society.

This movie reminds me of Sana Dati and Rachel Getting Married for obvious reasons. I like this kind of slice of life format because the main event which is the wedding is not the main focus, but rather on the development of the main characters. In Sana Dati, it's Lovi Poe's Andrea, Anne Hathway's Kim in Rachel Getting Married and in Kasal, it's the story of Sherwin (Arnold Reyes) and Paolo (Oliver Aquino) -- a gay couple on the rocks because of their priority differences.

It's melodramatic and it's too much sometimes. I'm not the biggest fan of the film as I thought there's so much unnecessary scenes and drama going on. I'm not the one to judge though. After all, I'm just a viewer watching a director's vision who obviously wants to convey a message about gay rights in our country. I rarely say this in film, but Kasal could have used a little more cuts in some of its scenes. Because there are scenes that will make you look at your watch and probably roll your eyes and I'm not even referring to the more or less 10-minute sex scene which btw, made the audience hold on to their seats as if we're watching The Conjuring. LOL. I actually find it necessary to the film but what about the very long wedding parade? and the excessively dramatic family of Sherwin? Yes they're allowed to be dramatic but seriously, some of their 'dramas' are just too hard to swallow, it's insane and some are just out of the context. Indie films and wedding traditions? I say it would have been best if he just focused on the characters and the plot.

But anyway, aside from those comments, Kasal works in its impassioned ways. The last act particularly was emotionally compelling that I can easily forget its flaws. It's exceptionally affecting. Think of Blue is the Warmest Color diner scene. I'm sorry I can't help but bring up that comparison. It's just that their relationship, the fight before the wedding and the differences of the couple was established so well that one can't help but be invested not only in their situation but also in their characters as individuals just like how the audience loved Emma and Adele.

Arnold Reyes as Sherwin is remarkable. I just recently watched She's Dating the Gangster and there's an undeniable difference in the way he acted here. So natural and committed and I've got nothing but praise. I wish the dubbed audio wasn't horribly edited in the video because it's very distracting throughout the film.

Oh well... if you love being devastated by well... love and heartbreaks, this is perfect for you. Just bring heavyweight popcorn and extra dose of patience for better viewing.