The Wrong Turn in Huling Pasada (Alvin Yapan and Paul Sta. Ana, 2008) July 15, 2008Posted by Richard Bolisay in Asian Films, Cinemalaya, Indie Sine, Noypi.
Directed by Alvin Yapan and Paul Sta. Ana
Written by Paul Sta. Ana
Cast: Agot Isidro, Dimples Romana, Neil Ryan Sese, John Manalo
In Competition, 2008 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival
Kill me for the terms – – but if Ranchero defines gawang UP, then Huling Pasada more or less defines gawang Ateneo. I ask you to take the assumption by clearly perceiving the intrinsic meaning of the words themselves, no school bashing, no pissing contests, no mudslinging, because after all we’re grown-ups – – those idiotic verbal warfare only happens in cheerleading competitions – – and if your ears are wide open before film screenings, possibly you’re waiting for the filmmaker who arrives late for his own premiere, as much as to the disgust you feel whenever a group of insensitive intellectuals talks so loudly at your back about whatsoever they feel like talking – – you can probably hear more variations of the term: gawang Fine Arts, gawang MassComm, gawang BC, gawang Eng’g, gawang kalye, gawang New Wave, gawang Tonet Jadaone, gawang Hermann Claravall, gawang Paolo Villaluna, this list can go on forever and we need to sedate ourselves before it stops – – but one thing is clear though: despite the collective and restrictive nature of these terms, qualities that for some reason people account for the name they brand these films with, every film is its own – – the term only acts as Post-it notes to remind us of similarities to previous works, but nonetheless they can easily be crumpled and thrown in the nearest trash bin.
Huling Pasada has technical edge to be proud of; at some point it looks like a film shot in the future. The framing, the execution of movements, the opening billboard, and the editing weave a substantive effect to the story – – which in itself is simple, not new of course, but in Philippine cinema, the marriage of literature and film is a very welcoming addition – – it hits my weakest spot. The parallelism of the two stories – – that of the writer’s and her story – – provides the structure and the participants all have tales to tell and histories at their disposal. I like the casual approach – – something done neatly, purposely affecting, and well-examined portraits of failed relationships in proper perspective. Agot Isidro, Dimples Romana, and Neil Ryan Sese control the game; their characters leave an awesome mark. A good start, interesting conflicts in the middle, Manalo’s street life is quite confusing but well that’s easy to swallow, but the end almost breaks it – – the superimposed shot, what are they thinking? i don’t know, must be a metaphor or part of the treatment, more likely to avoid ambiguity – – I find “doing it smoothly” a far better idea. Crucial, crucial, crucial – – the ambivalence stays but it hits the wrong note. Unfair to call it a failure just because of that – – Huling Pasada, however, borders on the positive – – it thinks, therefore it exists. * * *