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The film tells the saga of Rosario, a young and liberated woman in the 1920s who has just arrived from New York, and is spending her vacation in their hacienda.There, she meets and falls in love with Vicente, an older man who manages the tobacco plantation owned by Rosario's family. When Rosario's father finds out about his daughter's scandalous affair, he sends Rosario to a convent.
She escapes, and elopes with Vicente to Manila where they raise a family. But Rosario's life of married bliss slowly crumbles when Vicente becomes ill with tuberculosis, and she is lured to committing adultery. Temptation and scandal still hound Rosario as she continues to defy the moral restrictions of her time.
Based on a true story and set in one of the most colorful periods in Philippine history, ROSARIO is destined to be a modern masterpiece in Philippine filmmaking. It is a monumental yet intimate portrait of a woman's emancipation and the sometimes painful consequences of following one's desires.
Imagine a time span of about 15 years and imagine a character that does not age. Also, imagine that for that period, her hair does not change a bit and her real hair is peeking out under her ridiculous wig.
Now, watch Rosario. Those are exactly what you will see.
Not only are the wigs and the drinking of the elixir of eternal youth ridiculous, the make-up are also downright laughable. I am not an expert in make-up but I think that they could have done better if they tried to match the color of the make-up to the skin tone of the characters. Yul Servo's white make-up does not go well with his dark skin tone as his performance does not go well with good acting.
B. Direction and Cinematography
If this is Mr. Martinez's first directorial job, I really think that it should also be his last.
First off, his choice of perspective is to capture the emotions of the characters, which resulted in a caption that was so tightly boxed, you will actually have a difficult time imagining what expressions the other parts of their bodies are doing. It was really quite frustrating to look for emotions and good acting that were not there even if the actors' faces are all over the screen. With the top of their heads chopped off for most of the time, it seems like this film has nothing to offer except eyes, nose, lips, bad facial expressions, if any at all, and some ridiculous corpse-like make-up.
Second, the dialog was awful. The script was so bad, none of the lines sounded the tiniest bit of being life-like. The lines were so poorly written that you could almost detest the taste of cheese for the rest of your life. I can forgive the ridiculous make-up, the inconvenience offered by the convenience of being ageless, the bad suits, or the chopped off heads. But the bad lines and dialogs are something that I can not forgive; for it is in the good lines and dialogs that good acting can be elicited from. And since dialogs in this film are horrible, you can not expect anything from acting. All you will ever see are expressions similar to when something is pulled out of someone's ass.
I know that it was not Mr. Martinez's fault that they could not find talented writers. But as someone trying to become someone like Clint Eastwood, he could have revised the dialogs and devised a way on how to improve the performance of his actors. The formula is really quite simple: act it out and check if it feels something life-like. If it doesn't, then change it. How come he has not learned anything from Mr. Eddie Garcia when he acted out in Abakada Ina?
Since the story was based on real-life situations, they could have opted out for dialogs that were more life-like rather than pulling dialogs out of comics magazines or radio drama shows.
I understand the predicament of actors having to act out bad lines. One can only imagine how hard it must be to act out a bad dialog. If you watch closely, you could really feel for Jennylyn Mercado trying desperately to fit good acting with unbelievably awkward dialogs and situations.
Talking about bad direction, in Isabel Oli's breakout moment where she was forced to reveal where Rosario had gone to, it was actually quite confusing to me why she appeared before the father all welled up together with Rita Avila (who, by the way, does not resemble any amount of Chinese features and was made to sport a ridiculous Chinese accent. She could have been cast as one of the Spanish women as her features would suggest. The casting was so bad, one would actually think that they've been picked out by a blind person). This scene could have been made more realistic had the director made the maids come to the father and had them cry as the situation called when they were left with no choice.
One of the biggest disappointments in this movie is Yul Servo. Clearly, my respect for this guy is diminishing as he is cast in more roles he is not qualified for. At first, I guessed that they were looking for someone Moreno or more Pinoy-looking. But then again, their choice for Rita Avila would suggest otherwise.
I do not know which is more mismatched: Yul Servo's mouse-like voice to his Pinoy features, his ridiculous recitation of a poem in Spanish to his wooden non-performance, his ridiculously sized suit to his presence in the movie, or the ridiculous powder in his face to his well-gelled hair, which surprised everyone how Gatsby made it in the 20's.
I actually stormed out of the cinema the moment I saw the same faces and hair of Rosario and her mother, which are the same faces and hair I saw at the opening of the film, some 15 years ago based on the flow of the story.
I actually regretted having to shell out P180 for a digital movie with bad soundtrack and not having to finish it. But I was also relieved that I did not have to endure this movie until it ended because I was sure it would have been pure agony.
If the acting in this film looked like the expression when something is pulled out of someone's ass, watching this film is exactly the opposite of that: It is when something rough and thorny is rammed up your ass.
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