An almost churchly air of ritualized mourning suffuses “Rigodon,” semi-experimental feature from co-writer-helmers Sari Lluch Dalena and Keith Sicat. While they evince a firm grip on their chosen atmosphere and aesthetic, little else comes through to great effect amid the drama’s underdeveloped murk. Story of variably legal emigres from the Philippines and elsewhere floundering in a cold Gotham sinks characters and message into self-conscious mannerism and elliptical dead ends. Modest fest exposure aside, prospects are slim.
Dante (Joel Torre) is a middle-aged poet who’s risked running afoul of the law to help fellow immigrants. Now he suffers discomfiting scrutiny from an INS agent (incongruously Brit-accented Stephanie Schmiderer) who combines investigation with flirtation. Aspiring pro boxer Amando (Arthur Acuna) desperately misses the wife left behind, his homesickness dovetailing with that of neighbor Salome (Chin-Chin Gutierrez), whose marriage to a retired overseas U.S. soldier is unfulfilling. All three principals experience ghostly visions of absent loved ones. Poetry is quoted, choreography integrated and one garish dream sequence seems set in a David Lynch-gone-drag alternate universe. But despite some striking moments and handsome design contribs, the whole emerges pretentious and uninvolving.