Search This Blog

10 November 2013

Brillante Ma. Mendoza's "Sapi" (Review): "Demonizing Broadcast News"

Reviewed by Rob San Miguel and a television news reporter who has chosen to remain anonymous for fear of being "possessed."

“Sapi” is a cross between a documentary drama and a horror film but Brillante Maria Mendoza failed to fuse the two styles together into a coherent film.  Measure it by any standard, even view it as experimental film adventurism, “Sapi” remains disjointed and tedious to watch.  In this film, Mendoza demonizes Philippine broadcast news and the ongoing network wars. The film is littered with visuals to get his message across but nothing holds his message together.

I watched the movie with a television reporter who has worked in broadcast news for more than a decade and he pinpointed some inconsistencies in the film. Some are quite humorous; for instance, no one in broadcast news wears sleeveless anymore but Baron Geisler’s character did.  Some of the jargon used by Meryll Soriano’s character were incorrect but he said these things can be ignored.  The main fault of the film is its incorrect premise.  If the issue is media ethics, then the choices made by Soriano’s character is implausible.  The television reporter commented that other more plausible scenarios that can best highlight the sins of broadcast news are available. 

According to him, the close shot in which a television news vehicle actually ran over a real dog was the most disturbing of all.  The proximity of the camera proves that the director staged the whole scene. Was it a real dog that was run over? Was it part of Mendoza’s statement against broadcast news programs, and that they have become voyeurs of violence, misery and absurdity for the sake of ratings? If that is so, Mendoza was unable to put his visuals together into one powerful piece.  The viewers will only see a series of shots but that is all. They come and go.

Image created 

using Bitstrips
It is now obvious that “Lola” may be Mendoza’s last outstanding film, stylistically and ideologically. “Captive” was ambitious but it disfranchised the Filipino captives. “Thy Womb” worked primarily because Bembol Rocco and Nora Aunor held the film together despite the script and direction. 

Brillante Mendoza was once included in Take 100’s 100 best new directors in the world.  He was cited for his film “Masahista” (“The Masseur”). Unfortunately, his last three films did not attest to his talent.  Certainly, fans of Mendoza do not expect another “Lola,” but perhaps, as the fictional critic Anton Ego said, we need "some fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective."

No comments:

Post a Comment

The other contributing writers and members of this publication and our advertisers do not necessarily share the opinions of the writer of the article above. (Hindi nangangahulugan na sang-ayon ang mga ibang manunulat, miyembro ng babasahing ito at aming advertisers sa mga opiniyon ng may akda ng sanaysay na nakasulat sa itaas)

Brun Philippines encourages readers to focus solely on the issues when commenting or criticizing. We do not allow foul language and personal attacks on any individuals. You may only comment on a public person’s beliefs and actions. We strictly screen people who will leave comments, and only comments from readers with full names will be posted. Freedom of speech also includes responsibility. We want to weed out the buffoons from the critical and freethinkers. Thanks so much.

(Hinihikayat ng “Teapot” (Tsarera) ang mga mambabasa na tumutok lamang sa mga isyung pinag-uusapan sa pagkomento o pagpuna. Hindi namin pinapayagan ang napakaruming wika at personal na pag-atake sa sinumang indibidwal. Maari lamang punahin ang aksiyon at paniniwala ng isang publikong indibidwal. Istrikto naming sinasala ang mga taong nagkokomento at tanging ang mga komento mula sa mambabasa na ginagamit ang buong pangalan ang aming ipapaskil. Kaakibat din ng kalayaan sa pananalita ang responsibilidad. Gusto naming alisin ang mga luko-luko mula sa kritikal at malayang mag-isip. Maraming salamat po.)

Follow by Email


Brun Philippines joins the nation in remembering the evils of Martial Law and the fight to bring to justice those who are responsible for the human rights violations and other atrocities committed


Click banner above to see full list of winners