Friday, September 23, 2011

Rakenrol (2011, Quark Henares)

Rakenrol is my favorite Cinemalaya film of 2011.

I can remember the exact moment when I knew the film will be memorable and rocking fun. It was when the credits start rolling and the chorus of the song Manila Girl blares on. Wow! An Urban Bandits song in a movie? Count me in…

It took me a while to see this film but the long wait was worth it. My brother-in-law and I were not fortunate to procure tickets to the screening of Cinemalaya’s closing film. We decided to hang out and just content ourselves ogling at the stars and celebrities attending the film’s premiere. OMG! There’s the stylish and ravishing Anne Curtis! Harold, pa-picture ka na…

There’s a giddy fan in every one of us. Quark Henares and co-writer Diego Castillo imbue the film with the mentality of rabid, passionate, doe-eyed fans. Movies and songs that made a mark on their young minds decades ago get their fair share of screen time. As a result, Generation X viewers get high from the heavy dose of nostalgic droll churned out by a great cast including a scene-stealing swishy Ramon Bautista.

A weird, pretty female rocker named Irene (Glaiza de Castro) is also a die-hard fan. She adores the pogi rock icon Jacci Rocha (Diether Ocampo). When she learns of the music-making skills of her friend Odie (Jason Abalos), she convinces the latter to form a band. Along with Mo and Junfour, the quartet slowly etches their mark on the underground music scene. Their baptism of fire in the concert circuit is quite hilarious with a nod to Sandwich songs and a Tarantino-esque unsavory character.

As the group Hapipaks go places, the local music world becomes small enough for Irene to finally meet her conceited idol, Jacci Rocha. Diether Ocampo creates an off-putting character in Jacci Rocha by melding the cutesy ways and mediocre singing skills of a Kanto Boys member with the swagger of a younger edition of English-speaking Pepe Smith. There is also a huge, huge part of Hayden Kho in the proud Jacci Rocha, who thinks he is God’s gift to women. I wonder what movie co-producer Vicki Belo thinks about the prick of a character. Ha-ha. I can just imagine Henares having a wide grin envisioning the character. The impish director also has the balls to name one of the bands as titikO and one of the companies as G Spot (an allusion to the notorious G. Cosmos of the early 2000s).

A special song dedicated to Irene makes her putty in the hands of Jacci Rocha. It wasn’t long before they become a couple. A devastated Odie, who’d hold the torch for his female band mate, decides to ditch the group.

There’s an important scene showing Odie having a chat with an idol, Ely Buendia of Pupil. The latter, after learning of Odie’s decision to give up, relates his experience of almost quitting the music scene countless times. But, he persevered because he loves what he is doing. He persuades Odie to continue being a musician while saying that he is truly a fan of their songs. (I am a fan, too, of the track Oplan: Pag-ibig). This mantra of being yourself and doing what you really like is replicated in the inspiring stories of the smelly painter Yagit and more so, real-life director Quark Henares.

A movie character says there’s nothing better than making (and seeing) your special someone happy. The return of Odie made Irene so happy that she shed some tears of joy during their set. A close-up shows a shimmering tear frozen like ice on her lashes.

No one must be happier than the late film critic Alexis Tioseco. I admit that I doubted Tioseco’s assertion that Henares has the potential to become an important filmmaker. Well, here I am, eating my humble pie and yapping happily about the movie Rakenrol. Yep, I’m now a huge fan and will go for second viewing after I post this entry. Sugod, mga kapatid… sa sinehan!


  1. this movie sucked! big time. henares is so overrated


  3. Hi Marky! Too bad you don’t feel the way I do for the film. With regards Henares' films: Keka is the overrated one, Super Noypi is the underrated, neglected one, and Rakenrol is a gem with flashes of Tarantino-esque brilliance and impishness. However, the latter film is not rating highly among members of a large group of cinephiles. Henares is overrated? He is underrated in my opinion.