You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Children Metal Divers

Storytelling and docu-realism blend seamlessly in Ralston G. Jover's emotionally charged pic.

Cast:
With: Meljun Ginto, Vincent Olano, JR Olano, Ian Villareal, Aljon Ibanez, RJ Kim Resulta, Gina Pareno, Simon Iabarra, Cherry Malvar, Joe Gruta, Ketchup Eusebio.

Storytelling and docu-realism blend seamlessly in Ralston G. Jover’s emotionally charged “Children Metal Divers.” Applying an almost classical neorealist treatment to the raw material of kids who live by their wits in Manila’s largest squatter colony, the film balances the aesthetic rigors of Filipino indie cinema with audience-grabbing hooks. A lively festival tour should give distribs time to weigh pic’s commercial potential.

The simple story by Jover and co-writer Henry C. Burgos depicts a close group of boys who dive daily for metal scraps in Manila’s dangerous bay waters, vigilant against guards and police who try to detain them, but excited when they return home with booty, however meager. At the center of this basic world of survival is little sparkplug Utoy (Meljun Ginto, a born performer) and his big buddy Bungal (Vincent Olano), who has taken the pipsqueak under his wing. At the same time, it’s the more rational Utoy who dismisses Bungal’s fears about boy-snatching mythical mermaids swimming the local waters.

The discovery of a large anchor (captured in effective underwater photography) looks to be a jackpot for the boys, but tragedy is never too far away, as Utoy gradually comes to experience. It’s this slow dawning of his radically changed life that makes the film seem less like a melodrama and more like a tale about the impact of human loss.

Jover is clearly influenced by Brilliante Mendoza’s talent for balancing humanist stories and real-time cinema, and even casts Gina Pareno (from Mendoza’s “Serbis”) as the only truly sympathetic adult figure. “Divers’?” athletic handheld lensing also recalls Khavn’s “Squatterpunk,” set in the same shantytown settlement, but here used in the service of a drama with real emotional impact.

Only Pareno is asked to deliver a conventional performance in a film that otherwise blurs the line between role-playing and being one’s self. Ruben H. Dela Cruz’s nimble mobile camera maximizes the sense of realism, while Teresa Barrozo’s rhythmic score is tastefully underplayed.

Children Metal Divers

Philippines

Production: An Apogee Prods./Bessie Badilla presentation of a Queen B production. Produced by Albert P. Almendralejo, Badilla. Executive producer, Almendralejo. Directed by Ralston G. Jover. Screenplay, Henry C. Burgos, Jover.

Crew: Camera (Technicolor, DV), Ruben H. Dela Cruz; editors, Kats Serraon, Charlie Bebs Gohetia; music, Teresa Barrozo; production designer, Deans V. Habal; sound (stereo); sound designer, EJL Studios; line producer, Celso J. De Guzman; underwater camera, Visual Camp. Reviewed on DVD, Los Angeles, May 29, 2010. (In Los Angeles Asian Pacific, Vancouver, Pusan, Turin, Thessaloniki, Palm Springs film festivals.) Running time: 93 MIN.

With: With: Meljun Ginto, Vincent Olano, JR Olano, Ian Villareal, Aljon Ibanez, RJ Kim Resulta, Gina Pareno, Simon Iabarra, Cherry Malvar, Joe Gruta, Ketchup Eusebio.

More Film

  • 'Lady Bird,' 'Three Billboards' Fly High,

    'Lady Bird,' 'Three Billboards' Fly High, Netflix Mum on 'Mudbound' Results

    Storytelling and docu-realism blend seamlessly in Ralston G. Jover’s emotionally charged “Children Metal Divers.” Applying an almost classical neorealist treatment to the raw material of kids who live by their wits in Manila’s largest squatter colony, the film balances the aesthetic rigors of Filipino indie cinema with audience-grabbing hooks. A lively festival tour should give […]

  • get out Oscar Race

    'Get Out' and the Golden Globes: A Lesson Not to Laugh At

    Storytelling and docu-realism blend seamlessly in Ralston G. Jover’s emotionally charged “Children Metal Divers.” Applying an almost classical neorealist treatment to the raw material of kids who live by their wits in Manila’s largest squatter colony, the film balances the aesthetic rigors of Filipino indie cinema with audience-grabbing hooks. A lively festival tour should give […]

  • Justice League

    Box Office: 'Justice League' Scores $185 Million International Opening, Led by China

    Storytelling and docu-realism blend seamlessly in Ralston G. Jover’s emotionally charged “Children Metal Divers.” Applying an almost classical neorealist treatment to the raw material of kids who live by their wits in Manila’s largest squatter colony, the film balances the aesthetic rigors of Filipino indie cinema with audience-grabbing hooks. A lively festival tour should give […]

  • 'Justice League' Opens With Gloomy $96

    Box Office: 'Justice League' Opens With Gloomy $96 Million in North America

    Storytelling and docu-realism blend seamlessly in Ralston G. Jover’s emotionally charged “Children Metal Divers.” Applying an almost classical neorealist treatment to the raw material of kids who live by their wits in Manila’s largest squatter colony, the film balances the aesthetic rigors of Filipino indie cinema with audience-grabbing hooks. A lively festival tour should give […]

  • Viacom Halts 'Padmavati' Release After Religious

    Viacom Halts 'Padmavati' Release After Religious Uproar

    Storytelling and docu-realism blend seamlessly in Ralston G. Jover’s emotionally charged “Children Metal Divers.” Applying an almost classical neorealist treatment to the raw material of kids who live by their wits in Manila’s largest squatter colony, the film balances the aesthetic rigors of Filipino indie cinema with audience-grabbing hooks. A lively festival tour should give […]

  • EuropaCorp Sells French TV Production Unit

    Luc Besson's EuropaCorp Sells French TV Production Unit for $13 Million

    Storytelling and docu-realism blend seamlessly in Ralston G. Jover’s emotionally charged “Children Metal Divers.” Applying an almost classical neorealist treatment to the raw material of kids who live by their wits in Manila’s largest squatter colony, the film balances the aesthetic rigors of Filipino indie cinema with audience-grabbing hooks. A lively festival tour should give […]

  • IDFA: Syrian Comedian Looks for Fresh

    IDFA: Syrian Comedian Looks for Fresh Start in France

    Storytelling and docu-realism blend seamlessly in Ralston G. Jover’s emotionally charged “Children Metal Divers.” Applying an almost classical neorealist treatment to the raw material of kids who live by their wits in Manila’s largest squatter colony, the film balances the aesthetic rigors of Filipino indie cinema with audience-grabbing hooks. A lively festival tour should give […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content