The Debut


An 11-year labour of love for director Gene Cajayon and co-writer John Manal Castro, this rites-of-passage tale purportsto be the first movie "to deal with the Filipino-American experience". That may be so, but the conflicts between wannabe artist Ben Mercato (Dante Brasco) and his traditionalist father (Tirso Cruz III) recall numerous other comedies, notably The Wedding Banquet. Still, the vibrant depiction of an unexplored subculture is worth a look: when was the last time you heard Tagalog spoken in an American movie?

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