Lamb Chops

Christmas Lights

Kinatay’s (The Execution of P) exclusive Greenbelt screening was organized by a company which I thought is a punch line for the event. Never served as an appetizer, Adobo is the leader publication for the advertising and marketing community who is now the bearer of the Cannes Film Fest 2009 Best Director Brillante Mendoza win for Kinatay. That night was a nearly classy event for an independent film that shoots garbage bins, mutilated panties and a moribund illustration of diabolism with artistic allusion. They served wine and cocktails in the lobby and adjacent to that is the mini-museum/altar of Mendoza’s trophy collection. I thought they would also give litter bags as an understated precaution for what we are going to witness. Kitty litters are nowhere to be found in the alleys, if ever there were grossed-out socialites would dare come out from their seats. So you are obliged to politely swallow your own vomit or anything you wish to take out of your system for that matter. But even then, your imagination functions beyond thought.

Since most of the audiences are from the AB crowd, the reactions are more subdued. Or else, a castration will be the retribution for being unsophisticated towards gruesome themes. We are the elitists so the expectations from us, the audience, are also far above the ground. And the reactions are overwhelmingly soundless; as if Mendoza can shoot right there for an upcoming film. And anyone who will react with a slight shock in their face will receive a standing ovation as an indication of being over-the-top. In a way, the surrounding in the theater is quite the unadulterated imitation of what real-time is all about. For about one and a half hours screening the film will defy any real-time purist filmmakers. Agnes Varda tried to make one in her 1962 film Cleo from 5 to 7. But she exceeded thirty minutes with the ninety minute running time of the film. Mendoza’s film principles could also be his own worst enemy. With the aid of the pen and philosophies of Armando Lao, who also preaches real-time as the “New Bible” to our evolving filmmakers, Mendoza has made another film with the same theory. But the difference is that, Serbis is just about there in getting the core of the supposed strength, as they enslave themselves to the theory of real-time. But in Kinatay, they certainly fail.
Mendoza’s Kinatay is a well-orchestrated slice of life occurrence to the life of a soon-to-be police cop, who will witness another slice which is not the former, rather a slice of human brutality with the use of an old machete. Gingerbread men are fortunate enough to be molded from cookie cutters. Peping (Coco Martin) is a Criminology student who just got married to Connie (Mercedes Cabral). We follow Peping that day in these semi-voyeuristic slash rickety documentaryish camera techniques for the reality to sink into us. But despite the fact we are near the equator, our vision has no earthquake of its own. For once, I could now put forward my complaint, since the concept is all about hardcore reality. Anyway, the shots during the day are still clear; film celluloid really serve as an achievement in cinematography. As the night sets in, the inflexible obsessions of Mendoza seems to be the entirety of it – could be the reason why he have won. It does not only scratch all our senses, but also weakens his fervor towards real-time filmmaking. So there goes the re-assessment of the material. It seems that they are fifteen and a quarter steps in the wrong direction. I am certain that Kinatay disappoints on the leverage of its purpose. The purpose of which is found in the previous film Serbis. He could have setup a camera in front of us, real-time is within the screening of the film, on a purist standpoint. The impotent film Next Attraction made this statement but not in a positive and relevant motion. But it made me reassess the film and could possibly hail it as a great art trash. Its trash but a great one – it utterly deserves two and a half stars. I have never been in a formal film school but I am getting the offset concept with the rapid sprouting of extremism. It’s the opposing poles they want to achieve. So therefore, within the two films, which is more ‘a day in the life’? To whom should we give our tireless applause for conferring rapture? If it made you feel something, then it’s definitely a yarn from a basket of ribbons – colorful ones to be literal.

Kinatay might elicit a few more years of debate for its overly sensational and gritty material. And they could be praised for it. It has filled in the gaps to the scenes not explored during the Massacre Era of the nineties. Kinatay could be at par in terms of technicalities but nothing more than that. I prefer Serbis in Mendoza’s clump of films. It could make you think it is insignificant but that film could be more accurate without being too artistic or literary with its reflection. It is a slice of life that they preach and yet they are now afraid to incite boredom but opted to show a murderous night, from all of the days of our subsistence. But if you get bored stiff and jaded with nothing, it is easier to bow down to good old storytelling. Mendoza almost made a nearly insightful story and that is not what real-time had in mind. He will either chop it off, a conformist act, or do nothing.

Charlie Koon's Rating:

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