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Rediscovering “Dahling Nick”

 

When it was first shown in 2015 at the Cinema One Originals filmfest, it got good reviews and was critically-acclaimed. Later on, it was also screened at the Cinemalaya filmfest and it became a little more popular. But after five years, now that it was shown on the live streaming YouTube channel of Cinema One originals (it ran for one week, from August 20 to 27), a lot of people “rediscovered” it. And it got a wider audience and thousands of views via YouTube.

 

 

But rediscovering the film “Dahling Nick” at this time around meant more than appreciating and embracing it. Surely, it was way ahead of its time when it was first shown. The film, which documented the professional and personal life of National Artist Nick Joaquin, was as eloquent as it was. This was visually creative in grandeur, well-researched, beautifully written and acted upon by a great cast of actors and actresses.

 

 

It's as if you were seeing "two films in one". One, it’s because you were watching a documentary with truthful records, video clips and testimonies. And two, there's a film within a film, almost a melodramatic film with gloss, style, and wonder. In between the talks and the essays was a script to follow and a story to nourish upon the astonishing life of a book author and a National Artist awardee.

 

There's also a personal touch in the film. A trademark of a bottle of San Miguel Pilsen in the film rolled along and until the final end. That bottle was Mr. Nick Joaquin's trademark because he loved to drink beer as he wrote stories. He wanted to cherish it all the more as he partied with his closest friends. Knowing this writer in his most enduring ways and habits and manners, too, he was one of the most magnificent tasks accomplished on the film.

 

 

Amazingly, a woman-director did all that. And this time, a viewer further attested a woman director's chameleon-like touch. It adapted along with the texture, sometimes masculine and a little bit feminine, in the other scenes. How can a woman do all that? Only to further attest and impress just like all the rest of other women directors that their touches in making a film were unique, precise and imaginative. 

 

 

This was actor Raymond Bagatsing's greatest performance so far. Playing gay and eccentric, he dwelt into the innermost senses of a literary man's thoughts and feelings. Perfect!

 

 

Aside from Raymond, actress Alessadra de Rossi also offered so much magic in each of her scenes as the Mama Mary, actor Lance Raymundo as former President Ferdinand Marcos has got that classic persona and a fine portrayal, while Maria Isabel Lopez as the caretaker Anastassia was astonishing, candid, perplexing.

 

Yes, rediscovering the film in the year 2020, and at the time of the pandemic, Dahling Nick, was such a darling to cherish. And a cinematic joy of a treasure to embrace forever!

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