Friday, December 28, 2012

THY WOMB and the Sad State of our “Film Festivals”

Film festivals supposedly will showcase the best movies at the end of the year. Film festivals like the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) sadly are made of crap movies.  For this year, an exception perhaps are Thy Womb and El Presidente.

Thy Womb (Sa Aking Sinapupunan) as we all know is internationally acclaimed but sadly, the director Brillante Mendoza who get accolades from Australia and Cannes is texting, begging people to watch his movie so that cinemas will not pull it out. L

Last November 23, 2012 at SM Lanang Premier, Thy Womb premiered in Davao. My classmate Ate Sheila Labos, the ever talented Nightingale was able to get VIP tickets for all of us! We were too happy to meet and congratulate the cast. 

I may have not been born during the Vilma-Nora rivalry but I knew how it was- I witnessed my grandmothers and aunts coming from two different camps argue over these stars. And boy, our house has a  full collection of MOD Magazine, La Aunor posters and pictures even with Maria Leonora (the doll) and Tirso Cruz III's pin-ups. And Noranians proved they are very loyal. They swarmed in throngs at SM.  :) 

With Direk Brillante Mendoza
My MA classmates and I with the Superstar, Ms. Nora Aunor

Mercedes Cabral
ps. Oiliness is next to poverty. O_o
The movie is about the Badjao midwife who could not bear a child. Beautifully shot in Sitangkay and Bongao, Tawi-tawi, this movie had a daunting task to show the complicated human emotion without being melodramatic. No need for cheesy lines or overacting cast. Nora Aunor is Nora Aunor. And together with Bembol Roco on the lead, they nailed it. Adding to the helm is Mercedes Cabral. Ghad, this woman oozing with talent and sex appeal, is amazing on the wedding scene. The movie showed how the people of Tawi-tawi cope with conflict, that life goes on despite discrimination and suspicion. Two great performers don't need long dialogues to show their acting nor the conflict. It is in their eyes. 
I am not a pro movie reviewer/critic. But read Jessica Zafra's thoughts and/or Prof. Arthur Pizarro of PASADO (teacher's association) endorsement of the film here )

I was even brooding after the premiere night. When the credits of Thy Womb started to roll, the Davao crowd just gave a polite applause while I was thinking of the standing ovation  Cannes and Brisbane audience gave to Brillantes. I don’t want to be defensive but Davao crowd is just like that, kinda aloof sometimes but there is much appreciation for taking it to Davao. Premiere nights though are just for a small crowd.

Now is the time through MMFF to take it to the larger crowd. But sadly, I was told it was only shown at 3D and much higher priced cinemas in Davao. And while Sisterakas are raking 45 Million on the first day, Thy Womb only got 2.5M. Tsk. 

Majority of the moviegoers' eyes have been trained to watch teleseryes, melodramatic fast-paced and rehashed storylines of mistresses, quotable quotes and slapstick humor. Escapist films continue because these are the blockbusters. The much hype movies with huge marketing arm are really a Force to reckon with. 

As they say, we get the movies we deserve. Do we? Then are we going just to tolerate it, and let the profit-seeking producers, distributors to shape our cinematic consciousness? 

I beg you then. Please watch Thy Womb. And even El Presidente for a bit of our controversial history  

It is high time we spend on worthy movies. 



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