Monday, July 2, 2012
Joyce Jimenez, Jay Manalo, Elizabeth Oropesa, Julio Diaz, Rica Peralejo
Vic del Rosario
Not for public viewing
TV advertising director Yam Laranas makes his debut on the silver screen in Balahibong Pusa where Sarah (Joyce Jimenez) is the daughter of widowed Vivian (Elizabeth Oropesa). Back from a summer vacation, Sarah finds her mom living with Michael (Julio Diaz), a car-repair shop owner who promised to marry Vivian. Unknown to mother and daughter, Michael begins to have other plans for the young Sarah. Meanwhile, Michael's daughter Becky (Rica Peralejo) is having an affair with one of his mechanics, Eric (Jay Manalo), who is also Sarah's boyfriend. This web of relationships gets more entangled as expected.
Cinematographer Laranas captures reality through the camera in a skillful and artistic way. Unfortunately, his directorial success in 30-second commercials and short films (Best Short Film, Film Academy of the Philippines and Best Experimental Video, World Video Mondial in Brussels) is no guarantee for a well-made full-length movie. There is nothing original in the story. The screenplay, which Laranas is said to have finished in a weekend, is full of plot holes and silly dialogue, as can be expected from a rush job. The characters are not well developed and the performance of the cast is very poor. Laranas fails in his desire to prove that Joyce Jimenez can act, and is unable to handle more capable actors like Oropesa and Diaz. No amount of production design and technique in the lighting, music and effects can make up for good acting. There are some stray shots and unnecessarily prolonged scenes.
Kittang-kitta ng mga mata… bacat na bacat sa isip ang ganda! From the tagline alone and the title of the movie, which refers to baby pubic hair, one can conclude that Balahibong Pusa is made to whet the male appetite for fleshy exposures. Throw in foul language, voyeurism (paninilip), nudity, pre-marital sex, incest, rape, murder and suicide, starring sexy young actresses and you have the formula for a worthless movie sure to attract the baser instincts of the male audience. Does this reveal what Filipino males value? With the high incidence of rapes and sexual abuse even in the sanctuary of the family, will the Filipino male not stand up for integrity, modesty and true manliness based on sound principles? What are a few minutes of visual pleasure if it can lead to one's destruction and those of one's family? The moral integrity or decline of the nation depends not only on those who lead but also on each individual citizen. Will you continue to be a party to pornography? Think of your mother, your wife, your daughter, your grandmother, or your granddaughter. Don't they deserve a better you?