The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros (Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros) (2006)
Movie InfoAn effeminate 12-year-old who dutifully plays mother to his criminal father and older siblings experiences a crisis of conscience after befriending an honest Manila cop in the sophomore feature from director Auraeus Solito. A young innocent whose devotion to his family finds him taking the place of his own deceased mother, Maxi spends most of his days cooking and doing the household chores. In the evening hours, Maxi can often be found on the streets shopping and taking in a film at the local DVD stand with the many homeless children who seek a momentary escape from their bleak existence. When Maxi is rescued from a group of local thugs late one night by kindly rookie police officer Victor, his attraction to the kind-hearted and trustworthy Victor soon finds him torn between the criminal behavior of his family and his desire to follow a more honorable path in life. … More
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Critic Reviews for The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros (Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros)
One of the finest Filipino films, shimmering with folkloric charm without softening its view of the harshness and injustice of a life of poverty.
One of those all-too-rare films that handle preadolescent queerness with intelligence and unflinching honesty.
Preteen sexuality is a sensitive subject, but director Auraeus Solito handles it with dignity, never becoming exploitative.
The newcomer Nathan Lopez delights as the flamboyantly gay Maxi, the youngest son in a family of thieves who falls in love with handsome police officer.
Veering from adorable and light to bleak and tragic, Maximo Oliveros is all over the emotional map, but in a realistic way, sort of like life itself.
If this represents the best of Philippine cinema, I'd hate to see the worst!
Yet after all of the muck has been racked, the film's saving grace is the marvellously compelling na´vetÚ and too-early reality-test of its star. Perhaps if queers were the majority there would be less senseless death and more fashion conscious citizens!
Okay, aside from the gay angle, this is actually a rather conventional film. Had Maxi been a girl, no one would have even thought of exporting this thing. But it isn't and it's saved by the brilliant work of young Nathen Lopez, who swishes and preens his
A neorealist coming-of-age story infused with the pulse-pounding anxieties and excitement of first love.
A 12-year-old boy's initiation into the adult world where even those who seem virtuous are capable of giving into the enticements of money and power.
Audience Reviews for The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros (Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros)
Congested Manila slums project both the adorable and harsh everyday reality in the coming-of-age film Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros (The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros), a mesmerizing piece of actuality in the midst of poverty, crime, family, forbidden love and everything in between.
The superb direction from Auraeus Solito brings to life the blunt and honest writing of Michiko Yamamoto that mainly revolves on the conflict between Maxi's affection for the young, handsome cop Victor and his family's criminal trade. Turning sharply from being light and charming into being brutal and sinister, the plot unveils Maxi's rather painful pursuit of his redemption.
Amazingly, the film exhibits the acceptance and tolerance of his manly family and the unpleasant neighborhood for his homosexuality. Moreover, amidst the disagreeable society and culture, the Filipino virtues of family devotion and faith live on.
It is also a picture of contrasts. The neighborhood remains in high spirits despite belonging to the third-world setting. Their apartment, though scarcely roomy, displays a cheery and relaxed atmosphere. The homosexuality is openly accepted despite the great influence of Roman Catholicism.
Maxi is such a captivating blend of the cunning and the innocent, bubbly yet emotionally defenseless. Solito's knack for filmmaking that can actually stir such performance is incredible. Young, vibrant and talented Nathan Lopez carries out a performance that greatly fits the lead role and is splendidly complemented by the rest of the cast. In addition, the gripping cinematography from Nap Jamir and the compelling score from Pepe Smith essentially contributed toward the creation of a superior and exceptional feat.
It is very uncommon for a film to pencil in an overpowering portrait of reality-based concept that truly lingers. What is even more gratifying is that this slice of brilliance Filipinos crafted is critically recognized around the globe. Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros is a jewel of the independent film industry that acts on each individual while instituting a humanitarian paradigm more than just of tolerance, but of nonbiased judgment.
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