Sunday, August 14, 2011

Movie Review: Ang Babae sa Septic Tank

Well this took a while. Sorry.

Something worthwhile (got this via)
So you've lost hope in Philippine Cinema? Getting tired of the same old formulas that the mainstream studios come up with? Don't worry hindi lang ikaw ang nakaka-experience nyan, and once you watch a film as brilliantly funny and entertaining as Ang Babae sa Septic Tank, you'll realize as well: "Sa wakas may bagong klase ng pelikulang mapapanuod ang nakakaraming Pilipino."

The movie starts like what you imagine a typical indie film would be, nag-film gamit ang low budget na camera, tahimik, mas totoo, and mas daring (jebs in the first 5 minutes - not sure what's funny though). Then you realize that this isn't a typical indie film about poverty or the same old look we usually see in local indie films (or sa case ko lang). Someone's narrating the scenes and the narration was done like someone's reading the script, complete with phrases like *ext.-setting-scene-camera movement*. Cool, it's a lecture on film-making.

Sloooow panoramic shot! (from)
Then we find out that the movie is really about a group of three indie filmmakers who are in the process of filming the movie called "Walang-wala" or in English: "Nothing" (or was it dirt poor?) Kean Cipriano is the writer and the director, JM De Guzman as the produces and Cai Cortez as their very supportive and mute assistant. As they put it, what they're making is a perfect film about poverty in the Philippines, mga pinagdadaanan ng isang pamilyang walang wala sa buhay and an amazing twist ending. The makings of a truly moving film that will get them international acclaim. Only problem is, they have yet to decide on the film's directions.

Last photo I gathered from the web (via)
The film then goes to study the various approaches in making a film. Because of this type of narrative and exploration, we get to witness Scenes 34 - 40 (not sure if those are the exact numbers) over and over again. At first, it was pretty fun to see the differences between each approaches, minor details like camera work, dialogue, and sound editing transform each take into something fresh. There's just one bit where it got a little dragging (the musical one). Other than that, I enjoyed every angle that they took (take note of the part where they criticize mainstream films, kami lang ng grupo namin ang tumawa, not sure why).

Eugene Domingo was perfect in her role as Eugene Domingo (acting na parang wala lang) and as ang Babae sa Septic Tank (got lazy googling I forgot the name). Just imagine adjusting for each take on those particular sequences, with each of them requiring a different acting approach. Not far behind were Kean, JM and Cai (kahit na wala syang lines) who did just fine in conveying their characters.

And lastly, kudos to the director, Marlon Rivera, for doing a great job in guiding the audience through film-making in an accessible way. Also to the writers and Chris Martinez who recently, in my radar at least, has yet to do something awful. So far I loved his previous works: Kimmy Dora, Here Comes the Bride and I really wanted to watch Temptation Island because of the girls in bikini writing and director. Watch out for his works.

Overall, it's a local film that I highly applaud. I really enjoyed the film's cleverness and the subtle jabs at other genres and even the indie circuit as well. It really deserves all the praises that it's getting right now it's been a week! Yeah I know. Go watch it and ulit-ulitin nyo para kumita, THERE'S STILL HOPE FOR LOCAL FILMS.

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