The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros

Director: Auraeus Solito
Screenwriters: Michiko Yamamoto

Institute History

  • 2006 Sundance Film Festival


Just like the flower in the opening scenes, 12-year-old Maxi is a beautiful accent in the gritty underworld on the outskirts of Manila, where he lives. Living with his outlaw father and two older brothers, Maxi dutifully infuses everything he does for them with love. From cooking and sewing to braiding his brother's hair, Maxi fulfills the role of dalaga for his family, living as a young lady in the absence of femininity and their deceased mother.

We follow Maxi through his glowing and textured world of shopping, reenacting beauty pageants, and hanging out at a local DVD stand that screens movies for abundant audiences of transient children. But Maxi's emotions blossom late one night when he is rescued from neighborhood thugs by Victor, a kind rookie cop. Smitten with the handsome policeman, Maxi begins to feel pulled between the petty-thief family that he loves and the law and romance Victor embodies.

As part of an impressive ensemble cast, newcomers Nathan Lopez and JR Valentin exuberantly inhabit their roles as Maxi and Victor. With its vibrant cinematography, simple scoring, and vast emotional scope, Auraeus Solito's directorial debut as a dramatic filmmaker seems itself like a flower amid the grit of most contemporary cinema.

— N. Bird Runningwater

Screening Details

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