Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Review: Ang Babae sa Septic Tank

I knew the moment I saw the trailer of “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank” that I will love the film. And I was not alone as its screenings in the last Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival were always sold out. I was able to watch the last Greenbelt screening it had during the festival and the wait was worth it as the film delivered. The film won the Cinemalaya top prize for the new breed category and is reportedly the most successful movie of all time in the Cinemalaya box office so it was no surprise the Star Cinema immediately picked up distributing rights for the film and it opened today (August 3) on mainstream cinemas nationwide.

“Ang Babae sa Septic Tank” is the story of three aspiring filmmakers (JM De Guzman played the producer, Kean Cipriano the director and Cai Cortez the production assistant) who are planning their film “Walang Wala” which they believe will be the Filipino film that will be win that elusive Oscar and change the landscape of Philippine cinema. The film starts with a scene in the film “Walang Wala” as visualized by the director. I admit the first few minutes was slow and it tested my patience but in hindsight it was actually an effective start because after all that scene was a presentation of the film makers’ vision and it was good way for us to take a sneak peek in the mind of a film maker. In film, or for any other medium at that whether TV or print, the creator will always visualize their product as "automatically awesome". Sometimes filmmakers get too self-absorbed with their “masterpiece” that they fail to see if it this would be able to connect to the audience. The film then progresses on satirizing the culture of Philippine independent filmmaking and it works because you know that at one way or another what they were saying is true. However, some parts didn't work that well especially the “musical dream sequence” that was fun at first but dragged on for too long and became corny already.

After the pre-prod of the movie-within-the-movie the story moves on to the highlight and definitely the best part of the film: Meeting Eugene Domingo, the actress the filmmakers are want to lead Walang Wala. Eugene brought the house down! This is one of Domingo’s best performance of her career as she brought dynamic and energy to the fictionalized version of herself. It truly takes a gifted actress to pull off the scenes she did and you really have to commend Domingo’s acting chops because, as they say in acting, it’s much harder to make people laugh than cry.

Personally, I wish the film focused more on how Eugene (the film version) will treat her role in “Walang Wala” because after Domingo’s scenes the film hit a snag and when the film reached its end, I felt that it ended abruptly. Although the lesson they were trying to send across on the film’s conclusion was delivered, it lacked the momentum that made the journey incomplete.

“Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank” is a truly enjoyable film but not without its flaws. It could have improved on some areas of the story or could have lessen the inside jokes (it became self-indulgent) but this was Eugene’s show and her performance alone is worth the ticket.

No comments: