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The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros
The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros
Actor: Soliman Cruz; JR Valentin; Neil Ryan Sese; Ping Medina; Bodjie Pascua; Nathan Lopez
Director: Auraeus Solito
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Gay & Lesbian
UR     2007     1hr 40min

THE BLOSSOMING OF MAXIMO OLIVEROS tells the story of Maxi (Nathan Lopez) a gay, pre-teen growing up in the slums of Manila, who is deeply loyal to his family of petty thieves. His world revolves around his father and two b...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Soliman Cruz; JR Valentin; Neil Ryan Sese; Ping Medina; Bodjie Pascua; Nathan Lopez
Director: Auraeus Solito
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Gay & Lesbian
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Gay & Lesbian
Studio: TLA
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/28/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

In the Slums
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 05/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

""The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros"

In the Slums

Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride

Soon to be seen at the Arkansas LGBT Film Festival is "The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros", a new film from the Philippines. Deep in drama and with plenty of laughs, it is a beautiful film. It is frank and honest and will probably change the way you look at poverty, at gay people, at the nature of families and love and at the love
of parent and child, sibling and sibling.
Is Maximo Oliveros gay? He dresses like a girl and has a crush on a good looking policeman. As we get deeper into the film, we question whether he is gay or just troubled.
When Maxi's mother dies due to an unknown illness, he takes over seeing to his two brothers ad his father--all of the petty thieves. Everything seems to be working just fine until a young cop appears. Maxi becomes enamored of him and must choose between his feelings for the cop and his family. As can be expected, things get both ugly and violent.
Director Aureus Solito and screenplay writer Michiko Yamamoto give us a beautiful coming of age story. Nathan Lopez as Maximo Oliveros is a wonderful young actor and the treatment of him is unique and interesting. Whether or not he is gay is not an issue in the movie. There are elements of camp but in fair amounts and everything in the movie works because it is so well done. The filmmakers know when to pull back ad never let anything get too sensitive or emotional. Melodrama is avoided.
What the film shows us is that an effeminate boy can exist in the slums and have a peaceful existence. Even with the tremendous influence of the Roman Catholic church, the general mood of the Philippines lies somewhere between tolerance, amusement and acceptance.
The homoeroticism of the film is handled with great sensitivity. There is more a sense of hero worship between Maxi and the cop than sexuality. The people exhibit true caring rather than homophobia and there is a sense of ambiguity in the sexuality of the film and in JR Valentin's portrayal of the cop. There are scenes between the two that are highly charged and one especially that could be interpreted as pedophilia were it not so beautifully handled. The ending satisfies in every way.
Are puppy love, unrequited love, familial obligations and economic pressures necessarily gay? I don't think they are.
The streets of Manila are intriguing as photographed here as are the tensions among the principal characters. Here is a marginal family that exhibits loving and tender feelings.
Again I must cite Nathan Lopez for his performance. He has created a memorable character that will break your heart. His sensitivity, warmth and humor are astounding.
The subtlety of the film does not have the usual histrionics found in most films like this. It is the rawness and harshness of the film that stays with you.
Quirky coming-of-age movie from the Phillipines
Hulka | Washington DC | 09/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This moving coming of age movie about about a 12 year boy's puppy love for a young cop had this big tough guy bawling like a baby.

Maxi---played by Nathan Lopez---is a sensitive 12-year-old boy whose life has deteriorated into a surrogate existence of his dead mother. Relegated to housekeeping and caring for his criminal father and brothers, Maxi becomes infatuated with a kind and honorable policeman---played by J.R. Valentin. The policeman responds to the boy's infatuation compassionately but behaves responsibly by gently refusing sexual contact. Instead, he befriends Maxi and tries to steer him to a more respectable way of life. But his relationship with Maxi and his family has an unexpected and tragic result.

Did Maxi blossom? Yes, in a big way! Not only did Maxi take his mother's place cooking and cleaning, but he also becomes the heart of his family. It was his big heart that moves his brothers into the future after the tragedy that occurs to the family during the movie.

Turn off the cable TV and watch this quirky, little movie from the Philippines. It's a classic coming-of-age movie that will move and inspire you."
Exley Cave | New York City | 08/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"THE BLOSSOMING OF MAXIMO OLIVEROS is masterful on so many levels. One, it's a coming-of-age story expertly structured. Its dramatic momentum, its turning of the screw, is gripping. Motivations are complicated, outcomes surprising. Two, its rendering of Manila is honest, raw, personal, and illuminating. It captures both the hope and the desperation of life in a third world slum. It shows the beauty co-existing with the sludge. It does so without varnish, and without sentimentality. Three, it explores sexual identity in a fresh way. It's been on the festival circuit for a couple of years, selling out everywhere it plays. I'm thrilled to see it's finally released on dvd."
Outstanding Gay Coming of Age Movie
Muskoka Man | Philadelphia, PA USA | 06/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In reading the prior reviews and descriptions of this movie I was not prepared for what an intense drama it really was. Wow.

There are not may movies which would dare to depict a 12 year old boy as truly transgendered and accepted as such by his family, friends and neighbors. His two older brothers even refer to him as their "sister." Most other movies of the "gay coming-of-age" variety show boys encountering their gayness for the first time as masculine, or pretending to be masculine, as their parents and peers try to steer them in the traditional straight/masculine direction. Not Maximo. He acts and dresses like a girl and takes care of the men in his family as if he were female. He adores them and they adore him just as he is. When he does get bullied and threatened with rape by older thugs, his brothers come to the rescue (maybe a little too zealously as it turns out).

In the beginning of the movie and for the first 40 minutes or so, we see Maximo at his most carefree and innocent. He plays games (mostly with girls), dresses up, watches movies, and models exotic women's clothes on a pretend runway. He falls in love with a handsome and kind 20 something policeman. All is well with the world. But as the story unravels we learn secrets about Maximo's family, and especially his father, that force Maximo to question his sense of right and wrong, his view of the world as black/white and good/evil. We also learn things about his policeman/pseudo lover. Everything begins to take on shades of gray and Maximo must choose his loyalties and in the process lose his innocence, and I don't mean sexually. Suddenly, his sexuality takes a back seat to other aspects of life which are universal to everybody, men/women, boys/girls, gay/straight or masculine/effeminate namely loyalty toward family vs. loyalty toward a love interest. It also forces Maximo, and the viewer, to question the acceptable boundaries of behavior/misdeeds you can overlook in a parent, brother, friend or lover, in order to continue to maintain a relationship with them, and which ones you can't.

The acting was excellent. I believed everyone in their rolls. The main characters were all well written and 3-dimensional. This movie will stay with you for a long time. It is extraordinary. I highly recommend it as a purchase as opposed to a rental because you will want to watch it more then once and share this unique experience with others."