Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Selda (The Inmate)

Thanks to my Video City membership, I got to catch up on movies again.--Yes, I still rent. VCDs.

One of the movies that I got drawn to was 'Selda' which stars Sid Lucero, Emilio Garcia, and Ara Mina. It tells the story of Rommel (Lucero) who was convicted for an unintentional crime. In prison he experiences the horrors that it's known for; rape, violence, abuse of power, and reductive living conditions among others. Despite the hellish ordeal, he unexpectedly finds solace in Esteban (Garcia) who is among the pack leaders. Their entanglement was cut short when Rommel's parole was granted and he reunites with Sita (Mina) whom he later settles down with and becomes the mother of his child.

Six years later, Esteban is freed and he finds his way to Rommel's home in the countryside. Once out of the wife's sight, the two family men rekindle the flames that had started behind bars. The turn of events reveal that the ties that bind the two are more complicated than they thought. With Rommel consumed by guilt and confusion, their story develops further with a shocking twist that leaves everyone shattered.

What I like about Selda is its restraint. It would have been so easy to indulge in the usual sex romp common among gay-themed movies but it took a different path but still presented the story with the necessary sexual undertones. I was honestly expecting more passionate scenes between Lucero and Garcia but the shortage of such doesn't mean the chemistry between the two isn't present.

The scenes filmed in the penitentiary are remarkable in such a way that they transport you into the dark and filthy corners of the cells and take you into the minds of its inhabitants.

Emilio Garcia is oddly charming, maybe even sexy, in his portrayal of the always brooding Esteban but it's Sid Lucero that really shines in the movie as a serious actor whose commitment to his charactrer is impressive--and needless to say, he is certainly also sexy.

Selda is a far cry from other gay-themed indie films that practically capitalize on snuff. Its plot may bring Brokeback Mountain to mind but Selda has a darker, more subtle treatment. It's a riveting movie with an intriguing story worth telling and a cast that does not disappoint.


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