Prepare to Rakenrol

AFTER five years in the making, Filipino audiences were finally able to witness director Quark Henares’ Rakenrol.

A (hopefully temporary) swan song of sorts for Henares, Rakenrol served as one of the closing films of this year’s very successful Cine-malaya Film Festival.

The much-anticipated movie is Henares and co-writer Diego Castillo’s (guitarist of Sandwich and music video director) ode to the Philippine rock music scene, which both consider their home.

In the film, Irene (Glaiza de Castro) and Odie (Jason Abalos) are outsiders who become best friends because of their common love for Rock n’ Roll. Odie eventually falls in love with Irene, and helps fulfill her dreams of forming a band. They eventually recruit an ex-punk-turned-barista named Mo (Ketchup Eusebio) and the school bully Junfour (Alwyn Uytingco), eventually deciding to call their band “Hapipaks.”

In the process, Irene is wooed by her “all-time supercrush,” the famous rockstar Jacci Rocha (Diether Ocampo), and the one thing that brought her and Odie together might end up destroying them. The supporting characters add color and humor to the cast, with Ramon Bautista as the music video director Flame Tigerblüden, Ricardo Cepeda as a samurai marketing guru, Jun Sabayton as Mo’s artist roommate, Hiyasmin Neri as Junfour’s pregnant girlfriend, and Matet de Leon as herself.

Incidentally, Rakenrol is also Henares’ fifth film, the director having done everything from internationally acclaimed cult films (Keka) to big-budget Metro Manila Filmfest movies (Super Noypi). This, however, is his most personal film, and he’s glad to collaborate with one of his closest friends on the project.

“Diego and I have probably done everything music-wise together,” the young fimmaker says, “We’ve hosted radio shows, co-directed videos, we’ve written articles about music. We were even in a band together once!”

Castillo reveals that the film is very autobiographical. “We’re both from and into the local music industry and I guess a lot of our mutual friends started off in the scene and we both thought it would be a good idea to chronicle the things that we’ve seen over the years,” he says.

The movie has had its fair share of international critical acclaim having been screened in Italy (Udine Far East Film Festival), Los Angeles (Asia Pacific Film Festival) and San Francisco, and has been invited to international film festivals in Hawaii, Göteborg, San Diego and New York.

It won the Audience Choice award, and top Asian film site Film Business Asia described the film as, “A lightly comic charmer that’s sustained by its likeable leads and easygoing, big-hearted style.”

Rakenrol opens in cinemas on September 7.

>>canned thoughts: It’s sort of  “Once” meets “High Fidelity.” If you ever had dreams of forming a band, or doing something drastic just to impress a girl then you’ll find a lot to like in this movie. Though i don’t dig the love story of odie and irene that much, the background references to matet de leon and the bits about the most recent rock scene resurgence were awesome. Jacci Rocha rules..
I actually enjoyed this movie more than “babae sa septic tank.”  

What do you think?

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