Tuesday, November 10, 2009

When Timawa Meets Delgado (2007, Ray Defante Gibraltar)

This is one of the films championed by the late film critic Alexis Tioseco. In response to Tioseco’s wish for more people to see the movie, film critic Francis ‘Oggs’ Cruz chose this film as his Critic’s Pick selection during the Cinemanila International Film Festival 2009. The movie is a good choice because it is a pretty decent film and is rarely exhibited.

Sure, the picks of film critics Bien Lumbera and Roland Tolentino are better films (Serbis and Engkwentro) but those films have been well-exhibited. How I wished the two Urian members chose little-seen gems such as the Urian Best Picture nominee Hunghong Sa Yuta or Hospital Boat. The latter films, both of which I failed to see, had one-time only screenings at Cinemalaya festivals.

When Timawa Meets Delgado is still funny and wacky after all these years. My second viewing of the Gibraltar film highlights major assets and reveals a few defects as well. The rousing soundtrack, with songs by Mista Blaze, Tinug ni Nanay, and Color It Red, keeps things perky when segments fail such as the conversation between filmmaker Jun Delgado and his lover.

The segment I disliked most is the ambush interview with two young girls. Director Ray Gibraltar coaxes the girls to give answers that fit in with the film’s subjects, which are nursing and the lure of working abroad. The segment falls flat because of awkwardness. It contrasts differently from the well-edited interviews of nursing students.

The editing of the film is a mixed bag. The segment featuring the video projects of Delgado takes up a lot of time. It became dragging after a while. There seems to be funny things embedded in the video sampler but are just too deep or personal for ordinary moviegoers to decipher. I had more of a blast with the sampling of the works of award-winning gay poet Ruben Timawa. The gayspeak translation of Timawa’s poem ‘The Pig’ continues to bring out the guffaws. That alone is already worth the price of a ticket.

I love the humor, silliness, and inventiveness of the film. It is a unique and crazy hodgepodge of serious documentary footages, exhilarating music videos, penetrating interviews, and hilarious poem reading.

Special thanks to Oggs for using his clout to get this one-of-a-kind movie exhibited on a big screen.

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