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Azucena (Rated A by the FRB)

A lesson in Filipino filmmaking: If it's from Reynafilms, it must be good.

Carlos Siguion-Reyna continues on his streak of great films in Azucena, an awesome tale of domestic violence told in a relatively simple manner. Rated A by the Film Ratings Board (only the second movie to do so), Azucena is arguably Siguion-Reyna's best film to date.

Ricky Davao plays a cop who becomes reassigned to a clerical job after he was "framed-up", while Glydel Mercado plays his second wife. His daughter by his first wife, played by Alessandra de Rossi, befriends the neighborhood dog-butcher, played by Dante Rivero, after Rivero gives in to De Rossi's pleas to spare her aging dog from being pulutan for her father's birthday party.

Distressed upon hearing the bad news that his suspension may take even longer than expected (his police friends can't do anything about it), Davao turns to drinking. When drunk, he beats up Mercado until she's bruised, and later on rapes de Rossi. Bound by the similar circumstances that befall on them, Mercado and de Rossi (with the help of friend Rivero) turn things around which climaxes in a rather chilling, but metaphorical, incident.

Azucena, of course, refers to dog meat that's commonly used as pulutan. Just like his other films, Siguion-Reyna just loves to dwell on "taboo" topics. Interestingly, Azucena is not too "heavy" on the symbolisms and the metaphors his other films just choke on. This time, the movie does not just move you, it IS credible enough, thanks to a wonderful script, an impressive production, and great acting.

Davao and Rivero are, of course, seasoned actors, so there's no question there. Davao amazes me with the wide range of emotions he can play (kinda reminiscent of Spacey in American Beauty)—first kind, then violent, then apologetic. Rivero is just perfect as the dog butcher.

The real revelations, though, are Mercado and de Rossi. Mercado, fresh from her grand slam triumph as Best Supporting Actress for "Sidhi", is impressive in her portrayal as the beat-up wife who becomes a mental case. You might as well say she's the next Rosanna Roces (bold star turned serious actress), but I think she's done better. And who could forget de Rossi, who at a young age proves that she is of calibre. Teeny-bopper flicks won't do her good anymore. Think young Nora or Vilma; she's bound to go a long way.

In the movie, dog meat becomes the metaphor for human meat. In the same way as the dog is vehicle for animal welfare activists, man also becomes and eats azucena when he turns to incestuous ***** and wife-beating. Siguion-Reyna makes this point VERY clear in the final sequence. If for anything, watch the movie for the final scene—that's where the whole film's premise is clearly illustrated, although it's a bit too graphic. The phrase "dog eat dog" doesn't just come out the same after watching the film.

Despite a few lapses (obvious blocking during scenes with lots of people, weird sound effects which are heavy on the guitar, etc.), Siguion-Reyna still comes up with a worthy film. I'm hoping it does good during the awards season and during international filmfests. Watch it, before some Americans who watch the film become fully convinced that Filipinos are indeed dog-eaters.

My grade: B+


  • I haven't seen the movie. Gotta go, gotta go! :D
  • Yoshi:ha? bat B+ lang? :)
  • neth_rowneth_row PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    i'm not a big fan of carlitos siguion-reyna nor his films....i think he makes movies just to reap awards...i haven't watched any of his films, until now....

    azucena was good, really....great acting, good script, a well-crafted movie....siguion reyna finally hit jackpot.....
  • Yoshi: I hope you don't mind that I'll post here some suggestions. Delete/Edit this na lang after reading it.

    May I suggest that this Forum be called Movie, TV and Theater. I've discovered that there are a lot of people reacting to theater topics eh.

    I don't know if it's necessary pero baka you can also put a forum on Art (painting, scuplture, etc) baka may mag-post din.

    Sorry I can't react regarding Azucena kasi I haven't watched it yet.
  • Whoa I though Azucena was the film with Judy-Ann in it. Argh, should've watched Azucena instead of Pedro Penduko.

    Basta Ricky Davao + Siguion-Reyna, it's good! (eg Selya). Ricky Davao is really a great actor. I've been able to watch him even on plays, and I'm very impressed with him.

    I'm really gonna watch this one! Thanks for the review, Yoshi! :)
  • flyderman: Sure! :D

    msc88; We'll see what we can do about that. For the meantime, you can post musical related topics here. :D
  • Thanks to those who've seen Azucena. Please continue to support Filipino films. If you criticize——and you're free to——please watch the movie first. Remember, we only get the movies that we deserve. Thanks again.
  • Watched it this afternoon. Yep, it was nice.
  • Kagabi ko lang napanood ang AZUCENA...hehehehe...huling-huli 'no!

    I liked it. Very entertaining. Ang galing ng performances ng mga main actors and actresses. Okay na okay ang ending!

    From California,

  • I didn't know that there was a movie Azucena rated A by the FRB.

    Is it available on VHS or VCD?

    Is it bold?

    But if I get a copy, I'll watch it.
  • Originally posted by jenica
    I didn't know that there was a movie Azucena rated A by the FRB.

    Is it available on VHS or VCD?

    Is it bold?

    But if I get a copy, I'll watch it.

    It is not a bold movie.
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