panaghoy sa suba (Cesar Montano). 120 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (April 22) at the Carlton and the Coliseum Mississauga. For times, see page 105. Rating: NN Rating: NN
I salute enterprising actor/director Cesar Montano for creating this lovely to look at but difficult to swallow Filipino period epic.
Set along a peaceful river community in the Philippines province of Visayas, it tells the story of boatman Duroy's (Montano) enduring love for the elusive Iset ( Juliana Palermo ), who's being wooed by a nasty American businessman (the laughably wooden Philip Anthony ) and later by a second-world war Japanese officer ( Jacky Woo ), part of the occupation force.
The script takes some bizarre turns, and Montano never finds the right tone. Melodrama? Romance? Rambo vengeance flick?
It's all of these - and none. If the writing were sharper and Iset were a flesh-and-blood woman rather than an idealized goddess, this might have worked.