How Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio made me feel so stupid (as opposed to Inception, which made me feel smart)

So there I was, outside UP Film Center with Weng, on a rainy Wednesday evening. We have just seen Mario O Hara's Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio and both of us were boggled by the movie's treatment of Bonifacio's last days.

"It's theatrical no?" I asked Weng.

"Very much so. Parang combination siya ng folklore (Ibong Adarna), magic realism and actual historical documents. Pero ano ang silbi ni bald-headed girl?"

"I think she's a clown. Didn't the movie specified in the beginning that it's a comedy?"

"Sort of like a narrator in a theater play. Very theatrical talaga."

"But it has its poetic moments: the silhouette of the flags in the window as Filipinos flee from war, the floating fire outside the witch's hut..."

"Na parang Gabriel Garcia Marquez lang... And don't forget the prisoners' sing-along..."

"Na parang ang kulang na lang si Noel Cabangon..."

"I know right. Pero ano ang silbi ni Ibong Adarna?"

"Hmmm... hindi kaya dahil may patience yung prinsipe at kailangan mag-suffer muna bago ma-bag ang premyo as opposed to Bonifacio who's always portrayed as antsy."

"I don't get it but I'm compelled to say that it is good."

"Parang kunwari naintindihan mo..."

"I know right. Maybe we should ask Bienvenido Lumbrera... There oh!"

"Are you sure that's Bienvenido Lumbrera?"

"Ang daming tanong. Well, hindi. Pero malay mo may opinyon siya tungkol sa pelikula."

"Ang problemahin mo kaya kung pano tayo uuwi."

"I think its good pero bakit nang nagaway-away sila naka-brief yung isang macho."

"Dapat hindi na lang natin siya pinanood. Dapat Donor na lang baka mas naintindihan pa natin..."

"Then we wouldn't feel so stupid."

Twenty-four hours later, after work, I went back to UP to watch another Cinemalaya entry. Weng's there, fresh from her Joel David class.

"May explanation si Sir Joel. The mere fact that O'Hara chose to film a historical document is an achievement in itself. O'Hara, apparently, used Moro-Moro to drive the point that what happened in Bonifacio's trial was nothing but... well, a Moro-Moro. Sabi rin niya, compared to the New Breed section, the older filmmakers definitely have more substance. Tapos si bald-headed gurl, symbolizes Spain."

"Spain? Baket? Akala ko nga may pagka-Japanese eh."

"Kasi naka-muk-up nang parang Kabuki, ganun? Dance of death daw yun eh."

"Pwede. Eh ano yung briefs?"

"Sabi ni Sir, the treatment justifices the pagmo-model-modelan ng hunky actor ng kanyang Bench brief. Pero may na-discover akong link explaining everything."

Like an inept student, I resorted to Google. In a few seconds, I found "Lessons from the School of Inattention" by the blogger Francis Cruz. For him, Mario O'Hara's theatrical treatment was justifiable as it only emphasizes the Moro-Moro that is the Paglilitis ni Bonifacio. (Sabi nga ni David) Despite being based on actual transcript, the filmmaker chose to treat it as fiction. Then, if so, I guess Mario's also implying the sheer impossibility of telling a historical figure on film. Sort of what Mike de Leon pointed out in Bayaning Third World, which was the difficulty of doing a biopic on Rizal.

Of course may mga comments so I read them as well. One commented that he was looking for some emotional connection to the movie. Yes, it was masterfully done but the movie didn't move him. Isn't cinema supposed to affect you emotionally? He borrowed Peque Gallaga's phrase "Cinema of intent," which he then defined as a movie that elevates the standard of film and even experiments on the form but fails to connect generally. Siempre, may pang-reply ang blogger at which point dumanak na nang dugo sa cafe kung saan ako nagi-internet at dinala na ako sa nearby ospital. Nose bleed to teh.

Mayamaya lang dumating na si Weng galing sa panonood niya ng Sigwa (aka Sagwa... just kidding).

"Bago ka magsalita, tara manood na lang tayo ulit ng Inception..."


"Simply because I get it. So now let me tell you why Christopher Nolan is such an overrated filmmaker..."

Fade out


fuchsiaboy said…
lol! parang sitcom ;)
bwisit! said…
hahaha! hay naku, watch mo yung paglilitis. parang yun na yung pinaka-"brave" sa mga napanood ko... (but ive seen only four entries)

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