In this round-up, one is an Australian production, the other a classic Hollywood flick, and the last one a Filipino film. I saw December Boys at home, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit in media ethics class, and Desperadas, at the cinemas–all last, last week.
December Boys (2007, Australia, dir. Rod Hardy) is about three orphaned boys who share the same birth month (hence, they were called the December Boys) who are sent to a small isolated seaside community for a vacation. Since they have no one else but each other, the boys share a strong sense of camaraderie and brotherhood. This, however, is put to the test when they encounter the dilemmas of pursuing their individual needs and desires. The film exhibited excellent performances from the young protagonists. The location of the small community, beautiful and isolated, felt highly appropriate to match the growing detachment among the boys in this coming-of-age film.
The Man in The Gray Flannel Suit (1956, USA, dir. Nunnally Johnson). I’ve always been fascinated at how intricate, mature and complex decades-old Hollywood films are. I guess it’s because, void of advanced filmmaking technologies we know today, films really had to rely on good performances, and strong character and plot development, and of course a rich story. In class, we actually spent more than an hour discussing and debating several points in the film. This one’s about a war-veteran turned advertising executive who struggles to keep up with the demands of his work and his family. It may sound simple enough, but the personal and ethical dilemmas that come in the way make it quite interesting. The film lasts for two and a half hours, however, so it can get quite exhausting.
Desperadas (2008, Philippines, dir. Joel Lamangan) is about four beautiful half-sisters, their personal lives and their relationship with each other. Everything in the film seems so contrived, and sometimes forced. It’s an adult comedy film, so there were a lot of adult jokes. I concede, it can get quite hilarious. You’ll probably enjoy it if you’re in it for a laugh, which I was. I’m surprised, though, that this won a gender sensitive award. All along I thought the movie portrayed men and women (and homosexuals) in pretty much typical traditional gender roles. Hm, the film did have a breast cancer awareness public service ad in the end. That was probably it.