Burlesk King (1999)

MEL CHIONGLO

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBB

Philippines, 1999.  Seiko Films.  Story and Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Despite being a movie in which both a boy and his girlfriend sell their bodies for money and so does his mom, director Mel Chionglo finds a lot of heart at the centre of this seemingly lurid story, his follow-up to the last “Macho dancer” film Midnight Dancer. While this, the third installment in the series, probes deeper depths of characters and the effects that dancing for money has on its protagonist, Midnight Dancer had a much more invigorating pace. The story follows teenager Harry as he comes to Manila from Olongapo to find his American father whom he’d escaped as a child; he was beating Harry and his mother senseless and pimping them off to friends for money. To survive in the big city, Harry dances at a gay club, temporarily losing sight of his goal in his devotion to his work, but accomplishing it nonetheless. It drags on a bit, but it’s not a bad film at all.

Toronto International Film Festival:  1999

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