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The Masseur

10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

In Manila, 20-year-old Iliac (steamy newcomer Coco Martin) and his hot, young male co-workers give massage and a whole lot more to their gay clientele. When Iliac s philandering father passes away, the young man must reconcile his career as a sex worker with his role as son and brother to his grieving Mom and siblings. (Also stars Alan Paule of the classic MACHO DANCER).

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Jaclyn José, Alan Paule, Paolo Rivero, Katherine Luna, Kristoffer King
  • Directors: Brillante Mendoza
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: PICTURE THIS
  • DVD Release Date: August 28, 2007
  • Run Time: 76 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000S76NII
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #203,065 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Masseur" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Bob Lind on September 6, 2007
Format: DVD
After a couple of years on the gay international film festival circuit, where it won several audience awards, THE MASSEUR (2005) finally made it to DVD, which was my first opportunity to see it.

The Phillipine-produced film tells the story of Illiac, a 20 year old young man from a small city, who is working in Manilla at a gay massage studio, where tips are based on the sexual favors given to the customers. Illiac seems to be good at his work, and relatively happy being in demand, although he is indeed heterosexual and has a girlfriend back home. One wonders about the "back story" that led him to that line of work, and this is soon revealed when he receives an urgent text message to return home. It seems that his father is close to death. Illiac doesn't make it home in time to say goodbye, but they hadn't really been on speaking terms since his father had deserted his family years ago, leaving Illiac as its sole breadwinner.

Although shot on a tiny budget, the film showcases the skill of the writer/director, Brillante Mendoza, who gives it remarkable pacing, including some initially confusing flashbacks and fast forwards, as well as some unforgetable touches, such as segueing between Illiac assisting the undertaker in preparing his father's body and a flashback showing him giving a sensual massage to a man about his father's age. Later, Illiac has an emotional revelation when helping go through his father's possessions, and considers his future plans. As Illiac, Phillipine actor Coco Martin shows significant range and sincerity, well deserving the acting award he received for it. As a tribute to an earlier Filipino gay classic, "Macho Dancer" (1988), Mendoza cast one of the actors from that film as Illiac's obsessed customer Alfredo. Mostly in Tagalog with English subtitles, the DVD includes scenes from the film's premiere at the Toronto film festival. I give the film four stars out of five.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 20, 2007
Format: DVD
There is a reason this film from the Philippines has garnered so much attention and audience approval at festivals around the world. Yes, it is a very low budget film (and technically that shows), but the message is a sound one. Not just another film about the massage parlor antics created to titillate the viewer, THE MASSEUR (MASAHISTA) as conceived and written for the screen by Boots Agbayani Pastor is a close examination of the old conflict between father and son, expectations and disappointments, needs and failures to fulfill, and in the end the mourning for a relationship that never succeeded. Director Brillante Mendoza has found the balance between sensual imagery and social comment that makes this little film work very well indeed.

Iliac (Coco Martin) is a handsome young lad who, because his alcoholic and carousing absentee father cannot support his family, has left his home to work as a masseur in Manila, assuming the financial responsibility of his family. Iliac works in a massage parlor - rooms like closets so close that conversations are easily heard - where he has his regular clients as well as newcomers, each of whom pays for massage an tips for all the 'extras' the boys are more than willing to offer for a price. The film moves back and forth between Iliac's home and his work in Manila and after his father dies, Iliac must return home and be the one who must assist the mortician in preparing his father's body for burial. This tradition becomes an analogy for the work Iliac performs on the massage table and the conversations and physical involvements between Iliac and client mirror the ministrations at the funeral parlor in a powerful and deeply moving way.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By bigboyone on December 5, 2008
Format: DVD
not as good as i thought it would be
description of film doesn't come through on my dvd copy
seems like a lot is missing ( don't know if true, but i have read that
40% of film was cut to get it released.
would like to have originional verison for sure
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By city girl on July 8, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The first scenes are blurred. Whether this is intended or due to faulty camera work is uncertain. While the cover art is provocative, the nudity in the film is not gratuitous and is integral to the plot. The protagonist is believable and sympathetic and the juxtaposition between the preparations for his father's funeral and his work in the massage parlor is poignant and effective as a plot device. However, the film feels incomplete--as though the maker ran out of money and had to abruptly singe the edges of the film together. Further, the camera angles throughout are sometwhat skewed and not in a purposeful way. But, the glimpses into the everyday lives of this young man and his family--especially the stark images of the funeral festivities and the 'normalness' of the work environment make this movie worth viewing.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is the story of the two worlds that Iliac (Coco Martin - his first role) lives in. There is the world of his family which was abandoned by his father and there is the world that Iliac works in. In order to help support his family, he goes to work in Manila as a masseur in a gay massage parlor which for him is not bad since he is gay.. (It seems that all gay films from the Philippines show the poverty of the underclass and that the only work for good looking young men are as macho dancers or masseurs.) The father dies and Iliac's mother takes on the responsibility to bury him because she is one he is legally married to. The film goes back and forth between the two worlds and is not in a straight time line. In the world of his family he has to deal with much including having to help dress his father's remains in the mortuary for the funeral and deal with members of the family including his brother. In his other world, you see the squalor of the work place where these masseurs earn their money: a base fee for the massage and extra for the "extra services" provided which means pretty much everything else except for kissing when one of the masseurs tells his client that his lips are saved for his girlfriend. (I guess she doesn't mind sharing his manhood since it is a money maker). It is interesting that the camera takes you over the tops of the rooms so you become like a fly on the ceiling. The rooms are small with just enough space for a bed and a night stand with a lamp. The other item furnished is the cockroach which the camera focuses on. (I guess since the cockroach looks clean, the room must be clean) Let's be honest, the place is a dive like some by-the-hour motels in a tenderloin district. .Read more ›
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