A Stronger Foundation

Let's talk more often

Laya is not the carefree type of woman. She is a deconstruction of the female psyche. She thinks like a man and her principles are similar to men. This is how she is and has become. She confesses that her father sleeps with her when she was a child. Mangatyanan is the second film of the Camera Trilogy directed by Jerrold Tarog. The first film Confessional, I did not like. In fact, I was really insulted. It is not about the technique that I did not like. I just always consider stories to be crucial element in films. Mangatyanan made something exquisite. The mixture of our dying culture and the human condition are combined to exteriorize the frailties of our existence.

Why did I admire Mangatyanan and not Confessional? Confessional is pretentious. It was trendy during the time wherein most film enthusiasts are so frustrated with how our films have become. In effect, they have a high regard for brave filmmakers. But that was just a fad. Now, I think the majority of film aficionados could easily mock the brave. When filmmakers go back to the essence of film which is to tell meaningful stories, regardless of whether it is brave or candid, it will be praised for its ingenuity. Mangatyanan is an example. It definitely has a good story. It is about us. They talk about the people who are not merely fixated into life’s trivialities just for the heck of individualism. Now, we have a character that has the right to be who she is. The protagonist of the film, Laya Marquez played by Che Ramos has the bravura in extending certain aspects of humanity that is too soaring to be synthesized. It is hard to understand the courage of the principles she has acquired, but that is the blood of the film. This is the life that should flow into our own existence.

The mere fact that Jerrold Tarog’s name has registered into my memory, that a certain filmmaker has a recall could be very important. Tarog has definitely improved and has fused his technical expertise with a good story (Ramon Ukit). A trilogy in general has a common theme. They are not expected to be a continuation of the first or the second. Famous filmmakers have done this way of focused storytelling. Ingmar Bergman has made a trilogy that centers on a spiritual theme (Through a Glass Darkly — conquered certainty, Winter Light — penetrated certainty, The Silence — God's silence — the negative imprint). It is also same with a more contemporary approach by Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Death Trilogy (Amores Perros, 21 Grams and Babel). Tarog made use of the camera in order to base the commonality of the previous story with the recent one.

Laya is also suffering from an injury that now haunts her. His father Danilo played by Pen Medina is dying and her mother played by Irma Adlawan tries to patch things up. Laya resists without giving her reasons. She shuts herself from her ‘obligations’ and goes up quickly to Isabela for her job assignment. Little is told about her even with the insistence of her boss played by Neil Ryan Sese to open up. It is only in her conscience that we are introduced to Laya, a woman that tries to be normal for society’s sake but will never forgive a father who taught her what she is today. But the consistency of her courage will also have its toll. The tribe is headed by Mang Renato (Publio Briones III) who is very strict and devoted to the ritual. Through the ritual, Laya gets more bravery to face a daunting task to resist her own predilection.

Mangatyanan could still have the vibrant social commentaries relayed in Confessional. But in this one, it is more subdued in the context of political beliefs. Well, it is already in our blood to relate every aspect of our lives to the political arena. Mangatyanan on my perspective has deeply penetrated the harshness of our own beliefs. We have no right to human condemnation but we are reaffirmed by the task in hand which is to forgive. I have to say that most of the films in the Cinemalaya competition are really good. But Mangatyanan excels from the rest of the films in competition.
Charlie Koon's Rating:


Anonymous said...

er...i disagree. definitely liked confessional better. didn't find it pretentious at all. mangatyanan, however, was verging on pretention. and i basically did not like the message of the film. forgiveness? duh. it's just gotten too cliche, too predictable, too melodramatic. it was trying to dig too deep in an empty well.

but i still like tarog very much. he is a great director. nice to know some people really liked mangatyanan.

che ramos was good though. :)

Charlie Koon said...

hi thanks for leaving a comment.. maybe forgiving is the best thing to do.. laya had a hard time doing it.

i guess you need to see some films made by ingmar bergman. his central themes are similar with this one. you might also dismiss bergman as a pretentious filmmaker..


Anonymous said...

i absolutely love ingmar bergman! and yes, i could see why you would compare this film with bergman's works. and i do understand why some people would dismiss bergman as pretentious. but i don't care coz im in love (as in obsessed) with his works.

hmmm...i can't really point out why i am not liking this film so much as compared to confessional. i'm not a critic here. just your usual viewer who can't seem anchor herself with the main character - maybe it was with the script? or how the problem was resolved? or how everything unraveled? i really don't know.

some parts of the film i really liked. like the che's confrontations with irma. perhaps the deal breaker for me was pen medina and che ramos's scene. it wasn't as moving as i expected it to me. it wasn't even profound. i remember saying to myself while watching it, "what? after all that? ganun lang yun?" maybe i found it hard to forgive pen. baka rin personal bias to against child molesters. i just found it too easy a resolution. or maybe it was how it was shot.

sorry, i don't really know eh. and i'm not articulate enough to express it. nakukulangan lang talaga ko. it really didn't work for me.

cheers. :)

Charlie Koon said...

thanks for your immediate reply.. yeah, i also love bergman's works. haha. and i also don't care if the others say its pretentious.. hahaha

did laya forgive pen's character? i remember its only her mother she has forgiven... good day

Anonymous said...

this film can be salvaged through a re edit. it's flawed in in it's exposition in that the apparent connections were not sufficiently explored.

tarog should have researched joseph campbell's work.


Charlie Koon said...

what connections do they need to explore further? or the flaws they had committed? if jerrold would integrate some ideas from campbell, then what is it that would help the director to improve on his craft?

thanks muhandis. i'd also research on that. just like campbell, i love to explore different human experiences.. i could now see the connection why you relate it to this film..

Related Posts with Thumbnails