courtesy of culturalcenterphils
Poetry in motion. That’s how I look at the movie “Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa” (The Dance of Two Left Feet). Just watching the trailer gives me the feeling that everything is alright in the world. But before I get too mushy or profound here, let me say that Director Alvin Yapan has come up with another original work that is definitely a good follow-up to his well-received “Ang Panggagahasa kay Fe” (The Rapture of Fe) last year.
Want to know what the movie’s plot is? According to the Cinemalaya website, here goes…
Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa explores the intersection and divergence between feminist and gay concerns in the third world context, as it features the poetry of Merlinda Bobis, Ruth Elynia Mabanglo, Joi Barrios, Rebecca Anonuevo, Benilda Santos and Ophelia Dimalanta. When Marlon, a college student, stalks Karen, his literature professor, he finds out that she moonlights as a choreographer and dance teacher in a dance studio. Frustrated over his performance in her literature class, he plans to impress her instead by learning to poeticize his body movements and enroll in her dance class. He hires his classmate to teach him the basics of dancing. As Dennis, his tutor, teaches him how his body should move, Marlon begins to understand the intersections between the art of poetry and dance. This opens up his world to new insights about the life of Karen as s single woman who chose to live the life of an artist in a third world setting. Marlon begins to understand how the poems being discussed by Karen in class are testaments to her choice to stand by her art. Karen eventually finds out, through Dennis, that Marlon only enrolled in her class to be near her. She confronts Marlon about this and wishes that his interest for dance would survive his infatuation for her. Marlon feels betrayed over Dennis telling Karen. But it is also this sense of betrayal that tells him that he has already become close to Dennis, whom he now considers a friend. Up until then, Marlon and Dennis have become inseparable as they both tackled the complexities of poetry and dance. Sensing the coldness between the two, Karen set them up to help her train a group of dancers for a cotillion dance. Eventually, Karen trains both Marlon and Dennis to star in her dance adaptation of the epic Humadapnon, when she bags a grant. Marlon will play the lead role of Humadapnon, who becomes trapped in a cave full of women. Dennis’ character now has to rescue Marlon from the women, as he plays the role of Sunmasakay, the male incarnation of the goddess Nagmalitong Yawa. On the eve of their performance, in a drunken conversation, Marlon confronts Karen how he could not understand her poetry. Karen, in response, assures Marlon that he does understand her poetry. His mind is just unwilling to, unlike his body which already understands. Karen invites Marlon to dance with her, but in the middle of her dance, she passes him onto Dennis. Their drunken dance culminates with Marlon and Dennis taking on the roles of Humadapnon and Sunmasakay on stage.
The casting of the three main characters is certainly a triumph for Director Yapan. They all fit their roles to a T. Jean Garcia, Paulo Avelino and Rocco Nacino should be able to convincingly portray Karen, Marlon and Dennis, respectively. What’s more, their presence makes the film less of a hard-sell. Paulo and Rocco are two of the most promising showbiz leading men at the moment, while Jean always strikes a commanding aura in all her performances in TV teleseryes. Add to that the special participation of the Company of Dance Artists (CODA) and they all harmonize into a fluid and powerful interpretation of a slice of life through dance.