Review: ‘Woman of Breakwater’

Tenth feature by established helmer Mario O'Hara ("Pangarap ng Puso"), "Woman of Breakwater," about homeless human jetsam living on a garbage-strewn Manila beach, reps an unusually gritty meller for a Filipino pic. A local B.O. hit, "Breakwater" could make modest waves in Southern Asia and markets rich in Filipino ex-pats.

Tenth feature by established helmer Mario O’Hara (“Pangarap ng Puso”), “Woman of Breakwater,” about homeless human jetsam living on a garbage-strewn Manila beach, reps an unusually gritty meller for a Filipino pic. A local B.O. hit, “Breakwater” could make modest waves in Southern Asia and markets rich in Filipino ex-pats, and may wash ashore a few more festivals after showing in Cannes’ Directors Fortnight.

Buff island boy Basilio (Kristoffer King) and his little brother Buboy (Al Cris Galura) arrive in capital escaping heavies back home and fall in with colorful characters living on a beach, including bootylicious but sore-ridden prostitute Paquita (Katherine Luna). Basilio cures her body and soul, but incurs wrath of Paquita’s ex-b.f., Dave (Gardo Verzosa), a crippled ex-cop with perverse tastes. Scenes of a rape and another involving a sex toy may hamper distribution in more prudish territories. Filipino popstar Yoyoy Villame is on hand as a Rasta-hatted chorus with songs commenting on action. Good set pieces such as a seaside wedding and some strong perfs, particularly by Verzosa, are undermined by scrappy editing, especially around clumsily inserted flashbacks. Non-source music is monotonous drone. Other tech credits adequate.

Woman of Breakwater

Directors Fortnight / Philippines

Production

An Entertainment Warehouse Inc. production. (International sales: Ferdinand Lapuz, Mississauga.) Produced by Judy W. Teodoro. Executive producer, Arlene L. Aguas. Directed, written by Mario O'Hara.

Crew

Camera (color), Rey de Leon; editor, Bert Vasadre; music, Jess Lucas; production designer, Koko Teodoro. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Directors Fortnight), May 19, 2004. Tagalog dialogue. Running time: 124 MIN.

With

Katherine Luna, Kristoffer King, Gardo Verzosa, Amy Austria, Al Cris Galura, Yoyoy Villame.
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