Rene is a lonely grumpy 70 year old man who has alienated the few people in his life with his caustic comments and his decidedly unfriendly attitude. He lives alone in a shabby house in a small provincial town in the Philippines, and he is just waiting to die. It’s not that he is ill, but he has already boxed up all his worldly possessions and given the list of who he is leaving what too to the local Priest. The funeral parlor he bought his coffin on sale a few years ago is now closing up shop, so his purchase is now the centre piece of his house. It is very noticeably the most comfortable piece of furniture there so Rene takes to sleeping in it at night.
Rene passes his days by going to work as a janitor at the Post Office even though he has retired from there and is no longer on the payroll. His one true friend is his dog Bwakaw who just strayed into his life by accident and has stayed by his side ever since.
10 years previously Rene came out of the closet as a gay man and is now filled with regret that beyond the one platonic girlfriend he strung along for a time, he has never had a close relationship with anyone. One of his ex-school mates, an outrageously camp hairdresser is constantly trying to fix Rene up with young rent boys, but that is hardly his style.
Then one day as Bwakaw gets ill and Rene rushes him to the vet’s he befriends the burly tricycle taxi driver who comes to his rescue, and this unlikely pair strike up a friendship. It’s totally innocent but for the repressed Rene it is a bolt of fresh air especially as it looks like he may outlive Bwakaw after all.
This wee gem of a movie was a big crowd-pleaser when it premiered at Toronto Film Festival in the fall. Written and directed by Jun Nana an unknown filmmaker, it’s charm lies in the glorious understated performance of Eddie Garcia. As lonely as Rene’s life may be, there are also some hilarious droll moments which are deliciously funny, and with every nuance and look, this superb actor draws you totally into his life and he is such a joy to watch. Mr Garcia is evidently a major star back home (as he should be) but for young Princess who took the lead, this was her first movie and what a star she turned out to be too.
This is one of those wonderful captivating movies that so deserve to be discovered, even if you are not a potentially grumpy old gay man like me .