Monday, December 27, 2004

Filmfest Junkie

I am a big Filipino movie fan. I am proud to say that I support the Philippine movie industry from time to time, if I deem that the movie is a good one. Though I missed some good Pinoy movies (or so they say) like Feng Shui, I will muster all needed resources just to watch them. Also, I am proud to say that I am a big supporter of the Metro Manila Film Festival. I watch an average of 3 movies per festival.

Just yesterday, my friends and I watched Mano Po 3, the final sequel to the Mother Lily’s Chinese family drama series, though the three aren’t really connected. Initially, I had reservations in watching the film because first and foremost, I am not enthusiastic about Chinese culture, in fact I sort of hate some of their traditions (e.g. fixed marriage). Second, I haven’t watched Mano Po 2. But since it is was a fact that the three Mano Pos are not connected by plot, I relented. I just couldn’t belive I paid 136 bucks for a movie I don’t like much. Well, it’s the Christmas season anyway. And I have to support the Philippine movie industry.

Okey… any one of you who wishes to watch the movie, don’t read this paragraph. Mano Po 3 is about a Chinese businesswoman-turned-anti-crime-czar Lilia Chong-Yang (Vilma Santos) who renewed her love for her past boyfriend Michael Lim (Christopher de Leon) after seeing him once again in a business trip in Thailand. Michael Lim left the country after being arrested by Metrocom agents in a checkpoint during Martial Law period. Because of this, Lilia lost her one true love, thus finally ending up with their close friend, Paul Yang (Jay Manalo). Now, in the 25th wedding anniversary of Paul and Lilia, Michael will try to settle things once and for all, and shall try to regain his lost love for Lilia. Well, for the benefit of readers who still want to watch it, I shall stop here…

As what I always say when asked if it was a good movie, “if it weren’t for Vilma Santos and Boyet de Leon, Mano Po 3 would have been a flop.” There was really nothing new in the story. Tons of other Pinoy and Foreign movies talked about love triangle and this was not new. I have predicted the climax at the very start of the movie. The only thing I predicted wrong was the ending, where Vilma Santos ended up with no one except her family.

The only thing that could have saved the movie was to show some bits and pieces of Chinese culture. Actually, that was the main purpose of the sequel: to promote appreciation over our Chinese brothers and sisters by demonstrating traces of their culture. However, the movie failed to show even a single bit of Chinese culture in the movie. Except of course for the scene where Lilia was given away to a traveling family just to avoid being thrown to an orphanage. The movie showed how patriarchal Chinese culture was, how they deliberately degrade women, even their own kind. But aside from that, there was no other trace of Chinese culture that, apparently, they were very proud of.

One other thing I didn’t like with the Mano Po series is the casting. We all know that the three Mano Pos are not interconnected, though 2we see the same actors and actresses in the movie. This somehow confuses the moviegoers, especially if he/she watched all three. For example, Jay Manalo played in all three Mano Pos, and coincidentally, he died in both Mano Po 1 and 3. Eddie Garcia and Boots Anson-Roa played husband and wife in Mano Po 1, and played “balaes” in Mano Po 3. However, since I watched Mano Po 1 and the first scene showede Eddie Garcia and Boots Anson-Roa together, it gave me the impression that they still played husband and wife.

As I have said earlier, Boyet de Leon and Vilma Santos saved the movie. With their heartfelt emotions that showed not through the length of their dialogues but through the emotions of their eyes really compelled me to say that I liked the movie. From the way they looked at each other, they have shown the audience their inner emotions, and no dialogue was necessary. There were many silent scenes in that movie that showed the two of them, and I am proud to say that I liked most of them. The director seemed to have realized their true talents.

Mano Po 3 may not be a masterpiece, but I think it is healthy for a Filipino to watch Pinoy films from time to time just to enrich his psyche with Filipino movie culture. Others may call it Jologs, Bakya or Baduy, I call Pinoy Pop Culture. Whether we like it or not, it is in our system. So we might as well appreciate it. After all, it is not at all that bad.

I am also planning to watch Enteng Kabisote, Panaghoy sa Suba, Aishite Imasu, and Sigaw...

Trivia trivia

Did you know: Apo Hiking Society’s original name was Apolinario Mabini Hiking Society.

5 comments :

ibYang said...

grabe ka jerv (jerb as to jay manalo would pronounce ha! ha!)you really are a man of few words.. ikuwento ba daw ang movie?? :)

Jacs said...

I've watched three mmff films so far and they all sucked.

Pero mukhang interesting yung aishite imasu.

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