The scars of harsh love are examined in the Filipino meller “Summer Heat.” Episodic saga about a domineering father and his three daughters is a mix of histrionics and touching drama that improves markedly as it proceeds. Despite uneven results, helmer Brillante Mendoza displays a much firmer narrative grasp and keener visual instincts here than in his 2005 debut “The Masseur.” A worthy mid-level fest addition with claims for specialized tube play, pic opened locally Nov. 1.
Mang Rudy (Johnny Delgado) is a widower whose genuine devotion to his daughters is overshadowed by his emotional and physical abuse of them. Set in the rural district of Guagua and shaped loosely into three chapters, pic begins sluggishly with the wedding and later marriage difficulties of youngest daughter Celia (Juliana Palermo). Explorations of how father-daughter relationships affect women in later life are more cogently realized as attention shifts to middle sister Lourdes (Angel Aquino), who’s cheating on her husband, and Jesusa (Cherry Pie Picache), a lesbian who brings her girlfriend home to help care for the father. Jerrold Tarog’s lilting score is the highlight of a competent tech package.