The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros

Film, Drama
4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars
There aren’t many love stories about a rookie cop and a 12-year-old boy, but in many ways that’s what young Filipino director Auraeus Solito’s debut feature offers. Maxi (Nathan Lopez) is an unapologetically effeminate Manila lad who gets on surprisingly well with his gangster pa (Soliman Cruz) and street-thug brothers, teasing each other or taking in a DVD in the modest home that Maxi keeps with pride when not swishing fabulously around the slum streets. Tension arrives in the beefy shape of new man on the force, Victor (JR Valentin), who presents Maxi with an appealingly robust model of manhood by determining to overcome the laissez-faire corruption that, problematically, allows his family to thrive. The bond that develops between the two is affectionate and intense enough to get tongues wagging at home and down at the station, where Victor’s zeal is almost as unwelcome as it is on the street.

Made on a shoe-string with generous help from friends and family, this is not without its rough edges: Michiko Yamamoto’s script sets up some intriguing conflicts but comes to a somewhat fumbled climax. But the occasionally handmade feel, hand-drawn credit sequence and all, works to the film’s benefit. It’s hard to resist the raucous, vivacious tone encapsulated in its bold, vibrant wardrobe and set dressing and Lopez’s charming and affecting pivotal performance, all of which yields a vivid sense of a capital city rarely seen on screen. Solito also has a cheeky cinephilic sensibility: the haughty chutzpah of the closing homage to ‘The Third Man’ is worth the admission alone.

By: Ben Walters



Release details

Release date:
Friday June 1 2007
100 mins

Cast and crew

Auraeus Solito
Michiko Yamamoto
Nathan Lopez
Soliman Cruz
JR Valentin
Neil Ryan
Ping Medina
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