2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten
Gateway | Dragons & Tigers
Petersen Vargas’ film is about angst, confusion and sexual turmoil—in other words, life as a teenager. But Felix (Khalil Ramos) is not quite your typical adolescent: a whiz in the classroom but a pariah among his peers, he sits friendless at lunch breaks and seems resigned to loneliness. Then along comes Magnus (Ethan Salvador), a wispy dreamboat with feline features and a devil-may-care expression… Awestruck and smitten, Felix thanks his lucky stars when Magnus and his brother Maxim (Jameson Blake) bring him into their lives, at first as a school tutor but then as something more—a friend, a potential lover and a possible partner in a murder plot.
There have been many queer coming-of-age films, but closeted teen desire has rarely burned this brightly onscreen. The harsh light and heat of the rural Philippines are expertly conveyed: you can almost feel the sweat on these kids as they trudge and squirm in the sun, drawing closer and closer to each other. Director Vargas shows a mastery of colour and texture, and he shoots in a square format that’s perfect for closeups and small, vivid detail. Beneath the sun-drenched lethargy and muffled emotions lies a core of desperation, but the drama is never oppressive: this is a genial film about torment, as engaging as it is disturbing.
Best Film, Best Supporting Actor, Best Cinematography, Cinema One Originals 16