Tuli

Auraeus Solito departs from the Filipino urban jungle of his lauded debut "The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros" and explores life in the wilder jungle of "Tuli," in which a strong-willed daughter upsets every arrangement her alcoholic father tries to impose on her. With dad being the village's official circumciser, and daughter Daisy expected to follow in his footsteps, pic sets up a heady brew of daring sexuality and ancient rituals that broadens Solito's reach as a developing film artist.

With:
With: Desiree del Valle, Vanna Garcia, Carlo Aquino, Bembol Roco, Eugene Domingo, Luis Alandy. (Tagalog dialogue)

Auraeus Solito departs from the Filipino urban jungle of his lauded debut “The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros” and explores life in the wilder jungle of “Tuli,” in which a strong-willed daughter upsets every arrangement her alcoholic father tries to impose on her. With dad being the village’s official circumciser, and daughter Daisy expected to follow in his footsteps, pic sets up a heady brew of daring sexuality and ancient rituals that broadens Solito’s reach as a developing film artist. Though pic has been banned locally, Berlin and other major fests beckon, setting up potential arthouse and vid action.

Striking opening shows Ka Malteng (a mercurial Bembol Roco) enacting a circumcision ritual with four boys, assisted by Daisy (Desiree del Valle). The very fact that a girl is involved in such a powerfully intimate act with boys her own age places the film in decidedly interesting socio-sexual territory.

Pic invisibly shifts forward several years to when Daisy is of marrying age, and though the circumcised lads romantically serenade her outside her window, Daisy’s heart is for g.f. Botchok (Vanna Garcia).

Far more extensively than in “Maximo Oliveros” and its characterization of young gay love, Solito and screenwriter Jimmy Flores depict the intimate emotional exchanges between two women. The bravery of their love seems heightened by their living in a traditional village — whose Christmastime rites include an elaborate Passion play blended with ancient indigenous customs — and having to stay under the same roof as Daisy’s folks.

The “Jesus” of the Passion play, Nanding (Carlo Aquino), is also pointedly different: He’s the only guy in town who’s uncircumcised, and thus not exactly on the perpetually drunk and angry Ka Malteng’s list of favorites. Like a subtle shift in the seasons, Nanding forms a furtive but real love triangle with Daisy and Botchok, further complicating sexual boundaries and linking this with spiritual rituals of sacrifice and renewal.

The film’s sustained silences and shifts from the everyday to the mystical, along with the vividly tropical color scheme, project a strong sense of being in the jungle, though HD (shown in direct-vid projection at Sundance) may not be the ideal format for such an entrancing state of mind. Perfs, as in “Maximo Oliveros,” are fairly raw but likable.

Tuli

Philippines

Production: A Digital Viva Prods. presentation. (International sales: Flach Pyramide Intl., Paris.) Executive producer, Vincent del Rosario Jr. Directed by Auraeus Solito. Screenplay, Jimmy Flores.

Crew: Camera (color, HD video), Nap Jamir, Mark Gary, Regiben Romana; editors, Jeremiah Domingo, Kanakan Balintago; music, Pepe Smith, Shant Verdun; production designers, Ben-Hur Villanueva Jr., Lily Esquillon; sound, Tad Ermitano. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (Spectrum), Jan. 24, 2007. (Also in Cinemanila, Berlin, Torino film festivals.) Running time: 106 MIN.

With: With: Desiree del Valle, Vanna Garcia, Carlo Aquino, Bembol Roco, Eugene Domingo, Luis Alandy. (Tagalog dialogue)

More Film

  • El amor menos pensado

    San Sebastian: ‘An Unexpected Love’ Continues to Roll Out Sales (EXCLUSIVE)

    Auraeus Solito departs from the Filipino urban jungle of his lauded debut “The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros” and explores life in the wilder jungle of “Tuli,” in which a strong-willed daughter upsets every arrangement her alcoholic father tries to impose on her. With dad being the village’s official circumciser, and daughter Daisy expected to follow […]

  • San Sebastian Completes Festival Triangle

    San Sebastian Completes Festival Triangle

    Auraeus Solito departs from the Filipino urban jungle of his lauded debut “The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros” and explores life in the wilder jungle of “Tuli,” in which a strong-willed daughter upsets every arrangement her alcoholic father tries to impose on her. With dad being the village’s official circumciser, and daughter Daisy expected to follow […]

  • San Sebastian Film Festival: 10 Things

    10 Things to Watch for at San Sebastian Film Festival

    Auraeus Solito departs from the Filipino urban jungle of his lauded debut “The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros” and explores life in the wilder jungle of “Tuli,” in which a strong-willed daughter upsets every arrangement her alcoholic father tries to impose on her. With dad being the village’s official circumciser, and daughter Daisy expected to follow […]

  • Casey Affleck'The Old Man and The

    Casey Affleck on What He's Learned From the #MeToo Movement (EXCLUSIVE)

    Auraeus Solito departs from the Filipino urban jungle of his lauded debut “The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros” and explores life in the wilder jungle of “Tuli,” in which a strong-willed daughter upsets every arrangement her alcoholic father tries to impose on her. With dad being the village’s official circumciser, and daughter Daisy expected to follow […]

  • Junji Sakamoto Tokyo International Film Festival

    Tokyo Festival Sets Japan Film Pair in Main Competition

    Auraeus Solito departs from the Filipino urban jungle of his lauded debut “The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros” and explores life in the wilder jungle of “Tuli,” in which a strong-willed daughter upsets every arrangement her alcoholic father tries to impose on her. With dad being the village’s official circumciser, and daughter Daisy expected to follow […]

  • Robert Redford attends the premiere of

    Robert Redford Backtracks on Retiring From Acting: 'That Was A Mistake' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Auraeus Solito departs from the Filipino urban jungle of his lauded debut “The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros” and explores life in the wilder jungle of “Tuli,” in which a strong-willed daughter upsets every arrangement her alcoholic father tries to impose on her. With dad being the village’s official circumciser, and daughter Daisy expected to follow […]

  • Christopher Nolan

    Film News Roundup: Christopher Nolan Honored by Digital Entertainment Group

    Auraeus Solito departs from the Filipino urban jungle of his lauded debut “The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros” and explores life in the wilder jungle of “Tuli,” in which a strong-willed daughter upsets every arrangement her alcoholic father tries to impose on her. With dad being the village’s official circumciser, and daughter Daisy expected to follow […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content