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19 December 2013

Alvin Yapan’s “Mga Anino ng Kahapon” (Review / Kritisismo)

I strongly recommend that you watch the movie first before reading any reviews or film criticisms about the film, especially those reviews that reveal much about the plot.  For now, this is my review of Alvin Yapan’s “Mga Anino ng Kahapon.”  You will only cheat yourself if you read advanced reviews from critics, like me, who are more concerned about brandishing our well-padded egos and intellect.  Definitely, “Mga Anino ng Kahapon” is one of the few films you should not miss this year.

Part of the thrill of watching a Yapan movie is waiting for the unexpected twist at the last minute, and then he ends it abruptly, but appropriately.   I suppose mainly because Yapan is one of the few contemporary directors who respect and value the intellect of his audience.

After a disappointing attempt at commercial filmmaking with “Gaydar,” Yapan is back in form. “Mga Anino ng Kahapon,” in my opinion, is better than his last critically acclaimed film, “Debosyon.” In “Anino,” Yapan returns to a smaller canvas but his theme is far expansive than what he tried to tackle in “Debosyon.”  Yapan is a master of subtlety.  Everything is in the details, which shows his genius and confidence as a director. You will not see any gratuitous shots or pretentious display of so-called experimental artsy style.  His films demand your attention, and as a viewer of Yapan’s film, you owe it to yourself to look and listen intently.  If you have lazy eyes and ears, you will miss the crucial details. In a way, Yapan still behaves like an astute professor who knows his students are not imbeciles; they are not just encouraged to be critical.

4/5
PERFORMANCES
Like Michael Heneke’s “Amour” (yes, name dropping alert!), half of the credit goes to the outstanding performances of its two lead actors. The performances of Agot Isidro and T.J. Trinidad propel the film’s narrative and adeptly aided by Yapan’s camerawork.  Agot Isidro puts to shame every highly paid young actress of current film and television.  She disappeared in her character, her emotions trickle potently until the climatic end. T.J. Trinidad underplayed his role only to compliment Isidro’s haunting performance.

Like in “Amour,” Emmanuelle Riva’s performance became even more compelling because Jean-Louis Trintignant did not overshadow Riva’s role, but he supported her throughout. Both thespians were more committed to their characters than their screen time.  In “Anino,” T.J. Trinidad did the same with Agot Isidro.

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KRITISISMO: "PAGMAMATYAG SA PILIPINO"

Sa isang anggulo, ang paksa ng “Mga Anino ng Kahapon” ay schizophrenia subalit hindi ganoon kasimple ang mga pelikula ni Alvin Yapan, palaging may isa pa itong suson.  Litaw naman ang mga ibang paksa sa pelikula, tulad ng pagtalakay sa mga krimen noong panahon ng Batas Militar at ang pag-uusig sa kilusang pakikibaka noong dekada 60 hanggang 70. Tinalakay din ang mga suliranin ng mga pamilya ng mga OFW at ang seguridad sa paaralan at sa kasalukuyang lipunan.  Sa gitna ng lahat ng ito ay ang karakter ni Irene (Agot Isidro) na may schizophrenia.  Si Irene ang kumakatawan sa kasalukuyang mamamayang Pilipino na supling ng pira-pirasong kwento ng kasaysayang Pilipino na hindi pa natatapos, hindi tuluyan naipaliwanag o sapilitang itinatago sa mga bagong henerasyon.  Ang resulta ay isang kamalayang tagni-tagni.  Ang kasalukuyang Pilipino ay parang isang tao na may sakit na schizophrenia, hindi buo ang ating kamalayan at pagkatao. Sa isang banda, tayo ay ang kahapong nagmumulto at ang kasalukuyang hindi alam ang sanhi ng kapansanan. 

Kahit pilit natin igiit na tayo ay gising, malakas at nag-iisip, kung matapang nating tatanggapin ang katotohanan, tayo ay parang isang pasyenteng hindi alam na may sakit.  Minsan, tanggap natin na tayo ay mali subalit pamayamaya ay biglang sisisihin ang ibang tao o ang gobyerno.

Nagrereklamo tayo sa katiwalian ng mga lider sa gobyerno subalit tayo rin mismo ang bumuto sa kanila. Humihingi tayo na mahigpit at pantay na pamamalakad at pagpapatupad ng batas subalit tayo rin mismo ang unang aangal kapag napagsabihan.  Gusto natin umunlad ang lipunan subalit ayaw naman nating baguhin ang mga maling kaugalian. 

Sa ating pag-iisip marahil kumbinsido tayo kung ano ang dapat tamang gawin subalit tulad ng karater ni Irene, kailangan tayo ay bantayan para gawin ang nararapat tulad ng pag-inom ng gamot. 

Tama ang sinabi ni Irene sa pelikula. Marahil mas gusto nating mga Pilipino ang binabantayan o “pinupulis” sapagkat hindi nating namamalayan na ibang pagpapahalaga ang ating nadarama kapag tayo ay minamatyagan ng awtoridad na parang mapag-alagang kasuyo o asawa.  Maari ang punto ng pelikula ay (hanggang ngayon) mahina, sakitin at hindi pa rin mapagkakatiwalaan ang mga Pilipino na alagaan ang sarili kung kaya’t kailangan siyang “i-pulis.” Sa isang banda, ito ang punto-bista ng mga makapangyarihang elista ng bansa kaya sila nag-aastan pulis ng estado.  Subalit sa isang banda, kaya nang Pilipino subalit malubha na ang kalagayan niya at ang tanging binabahala ay ang pang araw-araw na pamumuhay.

Suma tutal, hanggat boluntaryo natin sinusuko ang responsibilidad sa awtoridad imbes na akuin sa sarili ang pagbabago, patuloy ang paglala ng ating sakit at patuloy ang pagkabasag ng pira-pirasong kamalayan ng Pilipino, ngayon at sa mga susunod na henerasyon.


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MESSAGE TO THE GUY PLAYING CANDY CRUSH 
DURING THE SCREENING OF THE FILM IN GLORIETTA 4
Dec 18, 2013 (9:40 P.M.)
Descriptions: Heavy built (overweight), thinning hair, with facial hair.

Dear Sir,

This is an indie film and not a mainstream commercial movie. I think it is highly unlikely that someone forced you to watch this film because it was quite an effort to go to Makati.  It is so much easier to watch Filipino mainstream movies and Hollywood films because you can watch them anywhere.  Logically speaking, if you took the time to buy the ticket, that meant you are interested in indie films. If you are a critic, on the other hand, then no self-respecting critic will play candy crush during the entire film.  Even if a film critic loathes the film, he will still pay close attention because he has to pinpoint every minute part of the film that he despises.

Thankfully, you are seated three chairs apart from me so the glare of your phone was not too distracting. In addition, Agot Isidro’s performance was so good that she actually rendered you invisible, and everything beyond my periphery disappeared for two hours. 


RELATED POSTS
Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa
Debosyon
Gaydar

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