"The Film Biker," Mel Chionglo's new melodrama, concerns a young handsome guy who transports reels of film from one movie house to another. Still best known for the guilty pleasure "Midnight Dancers," Chionglo makes crowd-pleasing mellers for Philippine audiences, but there's not much of a following for his work in the U.S. other than in festivals and specialized venues.

“The Film Biker,” Mel Chionglo’s new melodrama, concerns a young handsome guy who transports reels of film from one movie house to another. Still best known for the guilty pleasure “Midnight Dancers,” Chionglo makes crowd-pleasing mellers for Philippine audiences, but there’s not much of a following for his work in the U.S. other than in festivals and specialized venues.

Far from considering his work routine or menial, Gregory (Piolo Pascual) feels he has a calling, in part inspired by his blind grandfather, who is still obsessed with the magic and stars of old movies. Chionglo draws a parallel between Gregory’s professional and personal life, both defined by charming naivete, gallant chivalry and schmaltzy melodramatics. A firm believer in true love, protag meets a bar “hostess” (beautiful Vanna Victoria) and immediately assigns himself the role of her savior/redeemer. On another level, helmer offers an elegiac view of Manila’s movie palaces of yesteryear, being replaced by multiplexes that don’t arouse the same passion for film. Well-shot picture, which is only one notch above a soap opera, is enjoyable but utterly predictable.

The Film Biker

Philippines

Production

A Crown Seven Ventures production. (International sales: Crown Seven Ventures, Mandaluyong City, Philippines.) Produced by Tatus L. Aldana. Executive producers, Jese Evercito, Wilson Tieng. Directed by Mel Chionglo. Screenplay, Ricardo Lee.

Crew

Camera (color), Ely Cruz; editor, Manet Dayrit; music, Louie Ocampo; production designer, Edgar Littaus. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Contemporary World Cinema), Sept. 12, 2000. Original title: Lagarista. Running time: 100 MINS.

With

Piolo Pascual, Vanna Victoria.
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