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The Fabulous Filipino Brothers ★★★

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Director: Dante Basco

Starring: Dante Basco, Derek Basco, Dionysio Basco, Darion Basco, Solenn Heussaff, Liza Lapira, Tirso Cruz III, Cheryl Tsai, Arriana Basco and Joe Jitsukawa

Released: SXSW 2021

Human connection is what binds us all together. We may come from different cultures and speak other languages, but our experiences always feel similar. Dante Basco may be a familiar name to you, mainly if you are a fan of Rufio from 1991’s Hook. His directorial debut, The Fabulous Filipino Brothers, takes a deep look at the bonds of his own family through his brothers’ eyes.

From Northern California to The Philippines, four brothers confront their issues with love, family, and culture, surrounding a highly controversial Filipino wedding. Told in four vignettes with cockfights, adultery, romance, food, and family.

The Fabulous Filipino Brothers is a heart-warming experience full of wonder. It truly made me miss hanging out with my family because of our current predicament. During the four vignettes following each brother, we are immersed in Filipino culture, tradition and, my lord, the food. At times we forget our heritage, and Basco explores these ideas quite candidly. Living in America has changed the family dynamics, but their close bond keeps them together.

For most families, the kitchen is the epicentre of all family life. This is where we laugh, indulge, scream, cry and embrace each other. As the brothers bond over their breakfast, we go on journeys of what they all deal with daily. We learn more about their internal conflicts, but at times they don’t always cross over firmly, but structurally the foundations of Basco’s message hide these cracks.

Dante Basco uses his own family to share his tale. This organic and natural vigour is what makes it such a genuine experience. The brotherly love they have for each other can be felt through each scene. The brothers mentioned in an interview that rarely there are opportunities for more than one Filipino actor to lead a movie, and here they shine. There is so much charisma and flair to the roles. It is warm and embracing, and not all films can capture this feeling.

As the tale comes to its end, Basco keeps the most tender tale until last. There is a sense of rebirth in one of the brothers’ life. It was very delicate and life affirmingly wonderful. As the family all join for a wedding, Basco invites us to laugh and cry with his family. While The Fabulous Filipino Brothers may not have anything new to say, the statement about family bonds will connect with all of us.

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