Muted Atmosphere

Brownout Fever

Baby Angelo is an interesting film that represents real life situations. It’s deliberately restrained, making the entire tableau a reflection of the ordinary lives of middle-class Filipinos. The setting is nearly dark and hazy; a palette that could equal anything that is uncertain. And these are the lives that we are bound to see. Monotonous daily activities do not alarm these people and why should they; monotony has no cause for alarm. Thanks to the unborn fetus found in the nearby dump area; they are now warranted to ember the long dimmed lights of their lives.

Baby Angelo is directed by Joel Ruiz with his co-writer Abigail Aquino. The film is not entirely about Baby Angelo, who is already dead at the start of the film. Baby Angelo is the fetus found nearby the Genevieve Homes owned by the pious and extremely organized Mrs. Nora de Guzman (Ces Quesada). There are certain police protocols where they should submit affidavits and Mrs. Nora asks the help of her nephew Bong (Jojit Lorenzo) to interview all the tenants. Bong is a happy-go-lucky guy who is married to Lisa (Katherine Luna), who is glued to their apartment for unexplained reasons.

Well, they are the focal characters in this film. There is a tendency wherein you might get confused as to where the film is heading. Since the apartment is nearly full, there’s a bunch of intertwining stories within the narrative. It’s a clear indication that one way or another, people we are living with has an influence in our lives. Its not only limited to our relatives or immediate families but also to our neighbors. Given the chance to engage with others, there is a tendency to digress with the warmth of a connection.

The entire ensemble is mostly natural in their acting approach. It’s easy to notice that despite the fragmented scenarios, we could still feel the authenticity of the characters’ humanity. Bong and Apple (Diana Malahay) are the only two who could babble their longings and aspirations. Lisa on the other hand deals with Bong’s irresponsiveness with restrained annoyance. We have another character that has delicately painted a personality that has deeper manifestations of the yearning to be of being appreciated. This is Nora, a religious mother whose claws control ownership of the apartment and yet she gets a cold shoulder from his rebellious son Ike (Cedrick Lamberte). Her relationship also with his prim and suave husband Noel (Mark Gil) has this insinuation of a wrinkled situation. With a positive outlook in life, she starts to have a modest confidence in herself and fixes her elderly look into a lovely and sophisticated demeanor.

Baby Angelo is courageous to show these ordinary people’s lives and how they fulfill their routine obligations. Their days are occupied in cleaning the streets like the senile Mr. Chiu (Dante Baloi). Karaoke filled nights for the ladies residing at Unit 1-F. And these we see into lifeless color without any glamour. We are bound to see life without thrill and are quite disjointed without a predictable intention. Could we really exist without feeling that we are living? Questions will always be raised and somehow in the end, our existence, no matter how fruitful our lives become, will always appear ordinary. But we struggle to make our lives vibrant. This could be possible if we find true happiness within our midst. The death of the innocent serves as an insighting stimulus and through this, the characters realize the banality of their lives.
Charlie Koon's Rating:

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