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Cavite back to product details

Philippine Scare-orist
written by talltale August 11, 2006 - 5:16 PM PDT
5 out of 5 members found this review helpful
Somewhat maddening but worth the watch, CAVITE is most surprising due to the fact that, once you've finished viewing, you realize that the camera has remained almost solely on one person (quite often, his back) for the entire movie. Yet--because of the situation and filmmaking style--it still grabs you. Initially off-putting due to some jerky hand-held camerawork that is completely unnecessary (both the jerks and the scene itself), the movie settles down to follow a young Philippine-American who has returned to his birthplace to "visit" his family. One of the early faults of the film is that he must already know that his mom and sister have been kidnapped, yet we see him talking and arguing with his girlfriend on the phone twice, seemingly much more concerned with her problems than with those of his imperiled relatives. Does he know what is going on, or doesn't he? We (and perhaps the filmmakers) don't seem all that clear about it. Once he arrives in the Philippines, however, the movie picks up its pace and doesn't let go till the end. (its entire length is a mere 80 minutes).

Economy of budget must account for many interesting elisions: the big bank "heist" is never shown (he goes in, he comes out); the results of his "assignment" are simply unseen (and unheard--which would have been easy and cheap enough to manage); ditto the final result of his search. All this makes a problematic story seem ever more absurd, yet I hung on for the duration. As, I suspect, will you. Politically, the movie is disturbing in a worthwhile way because it slams you up against terrorism by putting you in touch with the "oppressed" in a manner that is both tricky and enticing. I'll be interested in discovering what this filmmaking team of Neill Dela Llana and Ian Gamazon does next. Here, Dela Llana co-directed, co-produced, co-wrote, co-edited, and did the cinematography; Gamazon co-directed, co-produced, co-wrote, co-edited, and acted the lead. Talk about jacks-of-all-trades! If the filmmakers were any less talented, they could be accused of having made a vanity production. But they're not, and they didn't. "Cavite," for all its faults, is still quite an accomplishment.


(Average 5.56)
16 Votes
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