A tale of first love with a difference, because the cross-dressing Maximo of the title (Nathan Lopez) turns out to be a 12-yearold boy, living in a slum in Manila. Since his mother’s death, he’s taken on the maternal role in the family, keeping house for the petty criminals that make up the rest of his brood. Young Maximo however develops a serious crush on rookie policeman Victor (JR Valentin), who’s determined to enforce law and order in the neighbourhood.
Plot contrivances aside, Auraeus Solito’s impressive directorial debut – shot on no-budget digital – is a vivid portrait of the Philippine capital. The director even finds time for cinematic references to The Third Man and To Have And Have Not. Engagingly acted, it’s also non-judgemental in its treatment of pre-teen sexuality.