Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank (2011)
Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank
August 18, 2011
Cinema 4, Seat I12
Eastwood Cinema, Eastwood Citywalk 2
It took me quite a while to get convinced by the entire Facebook community and this side of Twitterverse to even consider watching “Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank” starring the Eugene Domingo. In fact, the first time I actually considered it, I chickened out and watched The Smurfs instead. However, just like the biological excretion process of defecation, as a wannabe movie critic who has seen everything Hollywood had to offer during that week, I felt obliged to watch this so-called “Pang Oscars” indie movie once and for all.
I won’t talk about the funny side of it because, to be honest, I think I expected more.
Please don’t hate me, world. Please don’t. But, whatever humor was in it, 70% was from Eugene Domingo’s antics and 30% of my laughter came from that expresso dialogue. That guy should win an award, not for directing, but for a comedy performance in a supporting role.
Now, as corny as it may sound, “Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank” is more of an eye-opener to me than a comedy film especially with the fact that the supposed movie-in-a-movie focused on pedophilia and prostitution. This became even more apparent when the characters of Kean Cipriano and JM De Guzman, Direk and the Producer, respectively, imagined revamping the storytelling into something more gripping and ghastly by utilizing actual people – not actors – for the plot. Now, that’s some gritty storytelling!
The few minutes I saw that real mother and those real kids’ responses through the stark lenses of reality about how much they think a pack of instant noodles is enough for the entire family really had its toll on me. I may not be the nicest guy in the world but I always have a soft spot for kids who are too content with the little stuff they have. After all, I do originate from Tagum, Davao del Norte and had a substantial period of my childhood riding my dad’s tricycle on the way to school. In short, I’ve had my own share of poverty and it’s not that easy to erase.
This is why for that short segment that those real kids would gladly say the food is enough makes me hate myself for all the times I wasted food for no reason at all. Maraming nagugutom sa Samar, we hear this a lot. And yet, we don’t do anything about it really. But I’m not all for charity or spoonfeeding as in the case of the Conditional Cash Transfer Program being executed through the Department of Social Welfare & Development as directed by President Noynoy Aquino himself. In fact, I absolutely loathe the preposeterous idea.
However, for some reason, maybe it is because we are supposedly the happiest people in the planet, we laugh at our problems altogether. Maybe it’s defense mechanism, but it’s done to a fault. We should rise above the shit we’re in and do something worthwhile if not for our country, then at least for our own familiers, for ourselves. There’s nothing funny about being stuck in septic tank. I don’t know if the movie is being too literal or if I am being too figurative and symbolic on how I see things. But for me the character of the mother – whether it is that real woman, the Eugene Domingo, Cherry Pie Picache, or Mercedes Cabral – is our Motherland.
People are in shit, deep shit really, up in neck of everything gross and deadly and humiliating that makes up what poverty is all about. Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank, for me, is not just one woman who is about to sell her daughter or son or daughter or son. It’s a country of over 90 million people, a great majority of which lives below the poverty line. There’s nothing to laugh about and yet a lot of people whom I got to read their comments about online had nothing more to say about the movie than the cuteness of JM De Guzman and the elevator acting of the Eugene Domingo (I personally prefer “the as-is, where-is acting.“) If only people have told me that this movie had actually something more to offer than just a few shallow laughs, I would have watched it sooner than I have.
Direk, I suggest you go for the more controversial, gritty, and raw version of your masterpiece.
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