Midnight Dancers

on July 28, 1995 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
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   Three Filipino brothers make a living as "macho dancers" and prostitutes in this pedestrian portrait of Manila's gay culture. Joel has a wife and a child, but he also conducts an open relationship with a male lover; Dennis prefers to live on the streets, selling his body while attempting to avoid the violently homophobic police; Sonny, newly arrived from the brothers' hometown of Cebu, takes up with a transvestite lover but retains his small-town naivete. Their mother knows what they do for livings, but she accepts it.
   Director Mel Chionglo added 15 minutes to the version of "Midnight Dancers" that played at last year's Toronto fest, but even at this greater length the film is disjointed; none of the plot arcs connects well, and the characters are generally indistinguishable from one another. Chionglo is overly fond of long scenes that focus solely on the dancers' lithe bodies as they perform, creating sequences that seem to aim at voy-eurs.    Starring Alex Del Rosario, Gandong Cervantes and Lawrence David. Executive produced by Richard Wong Tang. A First Run release. Drama. Tagalog-language; subtitled. Unrated. Running time: 115 min.
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