Dancer

Review of Vivamax drama about strippers, ‘Star Dancer’

June 9, 2023 Mario Bautista 2024 views

Dancer1Dancer2STAR Dancer” is the first Vivamax and first commercial film of screenwriter Pam Miras, who won best director in Cinema One Filmfest with the horror film “Pascalina”. This time, she explores the world of strippers in a club.

The story is actually very simple. Odessa (Denise Esteban) is an aspiring ballet dancer who injures herself while dancing and doctors told her that she cannot do ballet anymore. Her family in the province depends on her meager earning from her stipend.

Two of her boarding house friends, Doray (Arah Alonzo) and Kits (Erika Balagtas), take her to the strip club where they work. She sees that they are earning much from dancing and now that she’s jobless, they urge her to resort to stripping and she willing agrees.

Prince (Arron Villaflor), the son of the owner of the club, immediately hits on her and she willingly opens her legs to receive him soon after meeting him. She could earn more if she’d do private lap dance stints with customers who take fancy on her, but Prince forbids her to do so.

Things become complicated for her when Giselle (Rose Van Ginkel), the club’s former star dancer, shows up to reclaim her throne. She is also Prince’s ex-girlfriend and the rumor is that she went missing because Prince knocked her up and she got an abortion.

As maybe expected, Odessa and Giselle quickly get on each other’s nerves. Soon they get into a catfight and the club’s owner, Queenie (Geleen Eugenio), tells them that rather clawing at fight each other, it’s better to just have a confrontation on the dance floor. They were in the middle of their dance showdown when cops suddenly raid the bar and a melee follows. So the dance competition is so “bitin”.

It’s easy to see that Pam Miras has the right cinematic sensibility to direct a film. Her scenes are well constructed and they show a nuanced sensitivity that run-of- the-mill, mediocre movie makers do not have. But her movie seems incomplete.

You get the feeling that she has something more to say but the time constraints and limited budget hamper her from coming up with a better realized work. Even the bedscenes lack that gratuitous exploitative feels that other Vivamax flicks offer.

In the end, you’d be surprised that Giselle, who’s very hostile to Odessa, suddenly loses her animosity towards her rival, becomes friendly with her and the movie ends up with them dancing in a street part. Anyare?

Denise Esteban is quite capable for someone who’s still relatively new in the business, but it’s her tough luck that her contravida, the more seasoned Rose Van Ginkel, who obviously has more incandescent screen presence and much more competent than her, both in the dancing and the acting departments.

As a dancer, Denise just makes “hataw nang hataw”, but Rose Van does it more seductively and with more finesse. In emoting, Rose Van is also more effortless, even with the way she looks at Denise derisively and the way she delivers her simple lines quite casually, but with much more impact.

Arah, Erika and Geleen all give colorful support in their respective roles while Arron Villaflor as the stud the two girls fight for has his own share of nude scenes, mostly with Denise. But like what we said in “Hilom”, he should watch out as his mid-section is already exhibiting excess fats so he should do more abdominal exercises to firm up his waistline.

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