Monday, January 17, 2005

I finally got to watch Panaghoy sa Suba (an extended theater run actually), the first and only movie that I watched from the recently concluded MMFF. I just couldn't reconcile the fact that such a beautiful movie isn't supplemented by a website. Which is weird if you think about it, considering that the benefits of having a site far outweighs the cost of putting up one. An oversight on their part? An oversight on the part of the whole local industry which should be corrected post haste (with the exception of Unitel Pictures though).

The title is translated as "Call of the River" from the original Boholano language and the story runs around the lives of the citizens of this small village by the river during the 1940s. How their not-so uneventful lives were interrupted by the presence of the Japanese army taking over their village. Iset (Juliana Palermo) unwittingly seems to be set in the middle of all these goings on. First she was being wooed by John Smith (Phil Anthony) her mean American boss (her impoverished family led by her aunt[Caridad Sanchez] , of course, was all for it), then by her workmate, Ibo (played by Reiven Bulado, who was killed accidentally while he was trying to get back at him for firing him for talking to Iset), and then by the Japanese officer, Fumio Okhohara (Jacky Woo) who not only offered his heart and some pricey gifts to his family but also protection from his enthusiastic soldiers, to the entire village. While all throughout these roller coaster courtships, her true love Duroy (Cesar Montano) kept his distance as a respect to his brother and for their safety as he lead a small guerilla army in the mountains.

It being the first Visayan movie in a long time (apparently there were a few unknown ones made during the same time as the setting of the movie) I was amazed even the local arm of UNESCO endorsed this movie. I also like the way the original Visayan language is articulated (with english subtitles supplied of course) and I don't know if you'll believe if I say that this was the first time I heard it spoken in all its entirety. There's more to love about this movie than any of its peers in the MMFF. I don't know why they keep bemoaning the death of the industry if they themselves don't even try to work on something as beautiful as this. This one's definitely a keeper!

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