MASAHISTA (The Masseur) focuses on Iliac, a young man who services gay men in Manila for a living. Brillante Mendoza won the Golden Leopard (Best Film) Award for Masahista at the 58th Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland over Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, infamous “shock" directors Gaspar Noe and Lars Von Trier, Academy Award winner Ang Lee, and perennial Cannes favorite Quentin Tarantino. Masahista was the first of a string of films that dealt with the darker side of life in the Philippines. Mendoza believes that filmmaking is moving people in a way that they don't simply cry in the theater, but carry the effect with them long after.
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MASAHISTA PLOT/SYNOPSISMasahista is a story about a young masseur named Iliac (played by Coco Martin) who caters to gay clientele. In here, sex is an immediate consequence of massage. One ordinary night, a gay writer (Alan Paule) becomes Iliac’s first customer of the day. But once outside the parlor, his current gf (Katherine Luna), a bar girl who works in Japan, asserts her sexual dominion over him.
MASAHISTA SUMMARY ... continued ...Back home, his estranged father died and as Iliac makes the trip to the province, he is faced with the reality of death, love, life and survival. The masseur then carries out his defined duties and roles–to his father and family, to his gf, to his trade and to the one customer who has made him a favorite and seems to return for more.
Aside from some loopholes in the plot, Masahista was able to convey a simple story of poverty which is very common in Filipino art films.
- 2006 Young Critics Circle, Philippines - Best Movie
- 2006 Young Critics Circle, Philippines - Best Actor (Coco Martin)
- 2006 Brisbane Filmfest, Australia - Interfaith Award
- 58th Locarno International Film Festival, Switzerland (2005) - Golden Leopard award (Video competition)