Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review: Aparisyon

Aparisyon is not a horror film. There's no actual apparition or any supernatural vision in the story but the film is still about fear. And it's a kind of fear that stems from guilt and apathy that is nonetheless cryptic.

Lourdes (Jodi Sta. Maria) enters a monastery located in a remote area where the nuns are shielded away from the rising tension of the Marcos regime. There she meets Remy (Mylene Dizon), a nun who secretly attends meetings of activists. One day, Lourdes accompanied Remy in one of the meetings but it ran late and they were unable to go back to the monastery before dark. On their way home, the nuns were assaulted by bandits. Remy manages to escape but Lourdes was left behind. Worrying about the nuns who haven't come home yet, Mother Superior Sister Ruth (Fides Cuyugan-Asensio) and her assistant Sister Vera (Racquel Villavencio) searched for them and what they discovered will forever change their lives.

Aparisyon's indie film budget might have kept it from having a larger setting but the film never felt small. It dug deeper and broaden the scope by raising the stakes. What makes it more gripping is the way it examines issues of faith, fear and guilt in a situation which is undeniably a grey area. It raises questions that is not easy to answer. It presents characters who we can both detest and sympathize.

While there are certain scenes that I wished the filmmaker added more context, Aparisyon is still a directorial triumph. Even if the film is almost entirely set in the monastery it was able to maximize the surrounding to make the viewers feel the coldness and sullen mode of the convent after the tragedy happened. Moreover, the film was able to tell an affecting story with less dialogue and even in silence. The film didn't have to resort to use drawn out speeches or lines to tell us the inner turmoil the characters are going through. The very talented cast was used efficiently. The most affecting scene is the first one-on-one encounter between Lourdes and Remy since the assault. No dramatic speeches were said but the tension was high. And when one character finally breaks down, one can't help but share her pain.

At first glance, Aparisyon might not be accessible to casual moviegoers but it tells a story that we could all relate to as each one of us have our own inner battles. Aparisyon tells a different type of terror that's quietly haunting and with its sophisticated direction and captivating performances, it is definitely one of the films that is worth watching. 10/10

"Aparisyon" is now showing in SM Mall of Asia, SM Marikina, SM Manila, SM Megamall, SM Fairview, SM North Edsa, SM Cebu, SM Southmall, SM Sta. Mesa, Trinoma, Gateway and Glorietta

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had high expectations of this movie. But I found it boring and suffered from a bad script. It was confusing who the protagonist was. Character development was uneven. We don't know the background of Jodi's character, but on the other hand, extensive background about Mylene's character that wasn't even necessary to the plot. The constant flashbacks interrupted the flow of the storytelling. And there was no transition between what was the story flow in the movie and a flashback. So it was another source of confusion. I couldn't recommend this film.