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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jul 24, 2012

Intoy Syokoy Movie Review: Jm De Guzman And Lj Reyes Shine Bright As The Leads

“INTOY SYOKOY ng Kalye Marino” is the first local film to show the lives of mussel (tahong) farmers in Cavite. Written by Jerry Gracio based on a short story by Eros Atalia and directed by Lem Lorca, the film is a bit rough around the edges technically but it’s very well acted by the main cast. The inhabitants of Kalye Marino have seen better days when it was still part of the Sangley Point U.S. naval base. When the Americans left, they were reduced to poverty and mussel farming became their main source of income, but they’re at the mercy of red and white tide.

The story features five childhood friends who grew up in the area, all dreaming of leaving their life of penury in the dead end world that’s Kalye Marino, but the core of the movie is the unarticulated love of Intoy (JM de Guzman) for Doray (LJ Reyes). Both of them were abandoned by their moms after their dads have died. Intoy is alone but Doray is left taking care of two younger sisters. Intoy is a tahong farmer. Doray tries working as a GRO but she doesn’t really earn anything much so she resorts to offering her body to fishermen in exchange for fish that she then sells in the local flea market.

It takes Intoy the whole movie before he finally gets the courage to tell his feelings to Doray, who by then is already suffering from an incurable disease. The final scene between them is deeply moving. Despite the film’s shortcomings, it works because of the engaging performances of the ensemble cast, particularly Joross Gamboa as Bertong Baka and Arnold Reyes as the celfone snatcher who is transformed as a Christian while in jail. But it’s the leads who truly shine. JM de Guzman has a pair of very expressive eyes that speak volumes. He’s also extremely good looking on screen you’d wish his legs were a few inches longer so he won’t look so vertically challenged. LJ Reyes hardly has any make up as the impoverished Doray and she really looks the part. But more than that, she acts with so much conviction you can’t help but be touched by the honesty of her performance.