Tuesday, June 10, 2003

my date with carl

Thanks to the kindness of Robinson's Galleria's Movie World, Carl and I were able to watch the latest Filipino blockbuster - Ang Tanging Ina, starring comedienne Ai Ai de las Alas.

I thoroughly enjoyed the film, in fact, here, let's get the review out of the way:

film: ang tanging ina

Star Cinema's new comedy works wonders with above par scripting and direction. Ai Ai de las Alas shines in both comedy and drama modes, blessed with superb timing and an engaging mien.

The frenetic introduction was the best I've seen in Filipino film, managing to encapsulate the entire set-up and premise with solid comedic beats laced with music that is hilariously apropos.

The movie does have its flaws, particularly with the casting (and therefore, the acting) of majority of the younger actors. The exception is Marvin Agustin who did well (although his method is still firmly within the bounds of traditional "young Filipino man" school).

The film paid homage to many films popularized by the likes of Sharon Cuneta, Vilma Santos and Claudine Barreto. The moment that the film-educated audience recognizes the references is a powerful instant of indentification, provoking knowing smiles or outright laughter.

I rarely view Filipino films (convinced that the best, like Oro Plata Mata and movies of that period) have passed us by. But seeing this, my faith in Filipino cinema is rejuvenated. Sure, it is a far cry from the usual brooding Sturm und Drang art house films I like, but in its context, it achieved its goals - to entertain, to move, to provoke.

It is certainly a lot better than most of the glossy drivel I've seen recently. Go and see for yourself.

Ang Tanging Ina - 7 (of 10)


After the film, Carl and I had milkshakes at DC Diner and talked about how it seems to be an unspoken axiom that stories that are bright and optimistic are inevitably torn apart by critics, considered beneath contempt or sentimental, while stories that show how terrible life is are praised. Which is true to a certain extent, of course.

Why? I'll write something longer here some other time, but suffice it to say that tragedy and it accompanying moment of catharsis is powerful indeed, and that laughter is overvalued (though not in Happy Land, of course, where it is the coin of the realm).

We got to talking about how adulthood and its attendant circumstances just happened one day (in my case, as an epiphany when I had to deal with helping out close relatives financially) and how melodrama pervades the lives that surround us. This was peppered with observations on love, family, friends, art and how all that matters in the end is what you truly are.

Heady topics for sweet drinks, but that's one of the things I love about talking with Carl. There is no need to make silly small talk that is irrelevant anyway. Just get to juicy, though-inducing ones, without fear of running over someone else's precious little ego.


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