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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.

Feb 12, 2023



‘EROTICA MANILA’ is a four-episode series on Vivamax where each story features various sexcapades around the vibrant city that is Manila.  

We have seen two episodes so far: “Cinema Parausan” and “Girl 11”.   

“Cinema Parausan” seems like a tribute to the classic Oscar winner, “Cinema Paradiso”, set mainly inside a rundown theatre where sexual workers of all persuasions freely ply their trade to willing customers.  

“Girl 11” is about a newspaper writer who goes to a massage parlor and gets Girl no. 11.  

Between the two, “Cinema Parausan” is the one that is better realized. It’s told from the viewpoint of Gab (Alex Medina), a vlogger-film reviewer who is asked by his two friends, both film aficionados like him, to join them in a retrospective of filmmaker Aureus Solito.   

They end up not watching the movie “Tuli” till the end and in a nearby eatery, Gab has a big fight with one of his friends as they discuss the film aesthetics of movies like “Salo” by Pasolini and “Tree of Life” by Terence Malick. 

Yes, the film, as written by Jim Flores and Miguel Legaspi, has such pretensions about cinema. 

Gab ends up leaving them, takes a jeepney and sees the movie “Isla”, directed by Celso Ad. Castillo, being shown in a sleazy theatre, shot in Lords Theatre in Rizal Avenue.   

He buys a ticket and is immediately enticed by an ugly cross-dressing gay who offers to make him happy. 

Inside the theatre, we see various couples, both homo and hetero, copulating right on their theatre seats. 

A young woman, Lorna (Azi Acosta), approaches Alex and offers her services to him. 

Earlier, we see Lorna having a big fight with her husband and going around borrowing money from friends for her’s baby milk. 

Gab tells her that the film they’re watching, “Isla”, was originally shown at the Manila Film Center which collapsed while being constructed, burying all the workers who died underneath without rescuing them, as the building has to be rushed for the Manila International Filmfest.  

He adds that the film is feminist in its orientation as all the men in power in the story exploited “Isla”, which, he adds, is Viva’s answer to Regal’s very successful “Scorpio Nights” by Peque Gallaga.

 It turns out that Lorna is familiar with the movies of Celso Kid as she has them in her collection of 3 volumes of DVD’s.  

When cops suddenly raid the theatre and try to arrest them, Lorna delivers a very long aria giving the police a piece of her mind. 

“Grabe kayo!” she rants. “Nanonood lang naman kami ng masterpiece ni Celso Ad. Castillo. 

"Malaki ang ambag niya sa Philippine Cinematic Erotica. Wala kayong pinagkaiba sa character ng pulis na kumantot kay Isla. 

"Mapagsamantala kayo sa kapangyarihan. Kaya namatay ang industriya ng pelikula, dahil sa inyo.”  

And she just goes on and on. 

We just don’t know if Azi really knows what she’s talking about as she buckled in one nife and had to do a double take to say the word “cinephile”. 

And the director didn’t even ask for a retake and just let it go.  

This episode is fun to watch as it’s so different from other Vivamax movies with all its allusions to the art of cinema.  

Alex Medina is so good in his role as the vlogger who succumbs to the lure of the flesh. 

He deserves to be seen in more Vivamax movies. 

We also enjoyed the fine cinematography of Nor Domingo and the good support of so many minor actors doing the different supporting roles. 

We will review the other episodes later.