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Rigodon: Racy, Provocative

We've been harping about it for a while now, so finally: Our final word on <em>Rigodon</em>
by Gelo Gonzales | Nov 19, 2012
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Love triangles are almost always a great catalyst for tension and conflict in storytelling. Someone is bound to get hurt and emotionally fucked-up in the process, allowing for interesting plotlines to unfold. Local cinema has seen its fair share of titular characters torn between two lovers (the bulk of which being pre-packaged box office brouhaha, like this one), but director Erik Matti’s latest dramatic thriller, Rigodon, injects darkness and paranoia into the mix of love and lust.

Sarah Dilag (Yam Concepcion) is a jaded office-worker who meets the manipulative Riki (John James Uy) at a club, and immediately, licentious heat takes over. They form a relationship, but Sarah is unaware that he is married to Regine (Maxene Eigenmann) and that they have a daughter. As the three of them maneuver around each other in a dance fueled by jealousy, passion, and dishonesty, their lives spiral down into an immoral hole, leading to a cathartic and tragic climax.

The ladies bring their A-game in this one. Yam is scintillating in her debut; her portrayal of Sarah is raw and bold (and we mean B-O-L-D!), her fresh face beauty beguiling her character’s deeper intentions. Maxene is also kind of scary as the jealous and suspecting wife, an homage to her family’s well-known talent. The women’s toxic mix of seduction and danger adds a layer of salaciousness that blurs the line between sanity and madness. The lengths they’re willing to go get the man (or get rid of him) are shocking and violent.

The play on each character’s intentions is akin to any of director Woody Allen’s latest tragedies. There’s a precision to the control and masking of each motivation, like how the simple use of computers or cupcakes hides deeper turmoil. They make choices, choices they can’t undo but soon regret. And just as in real life, the lies catch up with them and once they’ve reached the tipping point, there’s no turning back. The psychosexual angle the film explores touches on the misguided consequences of obsession, themes that aren’t really new, but nice to see on a mainstream platform.

Rigodon is exciting. No scratch that, it’s provocative without being in-your-face. It’s unafraid and unapologetic and in the end, leaves audiences with an unsettling feeling. In a film culture filled to the brim with commercial exploits, love teams, and matinee-idol fanfare, it’s a spin and allusion to the sexy films of yesteryear. And we, the male-going public who has had to endure the likes of A Secret Affair and The Mistress, can’t help but blush in excitement.

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