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Kimmy Dora (Joyce Bernal, 2009) September 12, 2009

Posted by Richard Bolisay in Asian Films, Noypi.

kimmy dora

Directed by Joyce Bernal
Written by Chris Martinez
Cast: Eugene Domingo, Dingdong Dantes, Ariel Ureta, Miriam Quiambao

Kimmy Dora is a delight to watch. But more delightful than the film itself is the response of the people I saw it with. And these are not even my friends. These are people who have seen the trailer on Youtube linked in their Facebook and Twitter accounts, viewed the poster and read the synopsis on their friends’ Multiply, and spread the words through their Livejournal, Blogspot, and WordPress. In short, strangers who were curious if the hype is worth the trouble and whose answers did not have to be put into words.

It is interesting how the cyberspace plays a major role in Kimmy Dora‘s success. “Word of mouth” through social networking sites has helped it a lot. People really came to see it. They flocked to theaters on the opening day and the days and the weeks after. But you see, when you look back at this somewhat historic feat that not any Star Cinema movies can achieve, it feels good to know that after watching the film, you realize that it deserves all the support it gets. In an hour and a half, it makes you forget how lousy local movies have been for a long while. It shows how we can still hope for both substance and entertainment in commercial films. While Kimmy Dora isn’t produced commercially, the idea of being commercial narrowly defined as something produced under a major studio, its success is commercial, and that has given other independently produced movies some hope to hit the box-office. Financial success means money to produce another film, and that is good. The means is just there. You just really have to work hard for it.

While Booba is still an exemplary film, I am inclined to favor Kimmy Dora just for the fact that it was produced during these years. Joyce Bernal proves that the line between commercial and independent is talent, and her passion for what she is doing, regardless of the producers she has worked with, will always pull you to see her films. You can feel Bernal’s touch in every scene, the campiness she sustains up to the very end, and her winning vulgarity that will shame Wenn Deramas for his lackluster flicks. Her sense of humor is sensible, and even her nonsense is pleasurable to laugh at. Only she can get away with being called “Binibini” for the rest of her career.

With Eugene Domingo – – in all her regal greatness – – what is left to say? Online magazine Spot.ph has selected her as one of the ten heroes of our time. She is touted as the new sex symbol after her groundbreaking appearance in swimsuit opposite Dingdong Dantes. Ai-Ai delas Alas’ name always comes up in her interviews. Honestly, I have waited for this for a long time. And now it has come, I can only be as grateful as her for the huge break she had. Domingo delivers the most graceful act of the year, the lack and excess notwithstanding, and seeing her reap praises out of her performance makes me feel her joy. It feels comforting to see people get what they deserve.

So you can imagine how ecstatic I was when Kimmy Dora was still an idea; how I screamed when I first saw the trailer in CCP; and how I was controlling myself not to laugh hard even before the first scene came on screen. The formula works because it isn’t forced. Chris Martinez follows the archetype of local comedies: the mix of slapstick, street humor, and absurdity. Making fun of the physical is always there – – it is us! – – but it comes out so naturally that the only way to respond is half in jest and half in tears. One moment I felt there is a sense of rush in its storytelling – – a minor nitpick that I wish will not be quoted out of context – – and it may have ruined the film if not for Domingo’s presence and timing. The bloopers in the end credits, aside from the roar of laughter they elicit from the audience, also raise interest in the scenes taken out of the final cut of the film. I heard it was supposed to be more than two hours, but it was cut down for some reasons.  Were the producers wary of the “excess” thirty minutes? Or the editing just missed the point of allowing spaces for the punch lines? Either way, it didn’t hurt the film much. I am amused and satisfied with almost every minute of it. In the company of audience members who applaud, cheer, and laugh boisterously while watching the film, there can be no better reward to ask for.


1. KC - September 12, 2009

WOw! that was hard-hitting! very objective! Makes you want to leave and watch the movie yourself! :D

2. feli - September 12, 2009

im girl floting at the boy ask to love me

3. jan - September 13, 2009

go miss uge…i love you…sana di u kami makalimutan…although maliit lang kami but we support movies with qualities like yours….sana wag kang magpa exclusive sa mga network, malay mo ikaw ang maging reason ng pagkakasundo nila?…..ur the best….ilang taon ka na nga pala?thanks

4. john paul - September 14, 2009


NAGPUPUYOS SA GALIT si Direk Wenn Deramas dahil sa isang artikulong ifinorward sa kanya sa kanyang facebook account. Merong isang blog na hindi niya alam kung sino ang sumulat.

Basta ang pangalan ng blog ay “Lilok Pelikula” kung saan puring-puri nito ang pelikulang Kimmy Dora ni Eugene Domingo.

“Ako, kung me pelikula ako, tapos, lalaitin mo, okay lang, eh. Pero ‘yung hindi ko naman pelikula at pupurihin mo ang pelikula at my expense, teka muna. Tama ba ‘yon?

“Pinuri-puri ang Kimmy Dora, fine. Maganda naman talaga. Aba,eh, sabihin ba naman ng sumulat na sana, eh, matuto ako ke Direk Joyce Bernal?

“Teka, hindi ako kasama sa pelikula para idamay pati pangalan ko.”

Sino ba ang sumulat?

“Hindi ko nga alam, eh.Kung kilala ko lang ‘yon, hinahamon ko, sasapakin ko, eh!”

O, di ba, palaban si Direk Wenn? Boksingerong-boksingero ang dating.

5. mayk - September 15, 2009

sikat na you chardi!!!

6. john paul - September 15, 2009

naku, sikat? mabubugbog kamo. ayaw ni alexis niyan. bwahaha.

7. kurdapya - September 15, 2009

Magaling naman si Direk Wenn in his own way. Magkaiba sila nang technique ni BB Joyce. There’s no comparison. Apples and Oranges. Kaya itong si Richard Bolisay, mag research muna nang marami bago sumulat nang ganito. It is a known fact that Kimmy Dora is a box office hit. There’s nothing new with what this writer has written. Inulit lang niya ang balita. Don’t fret Direk Wenn. This writer is not worth your breath.

8. ayn - September 16, 2009

and how exactly is whinging to a gossip blog, threatening someone with violence an intelligent response to criticism?

john paul, whoever you are, please keep alexis out of this. that was crude and vulgar and does not enter whatever argument you have with Richard.

9. john paul - September 16, 2009

oh, well. someone like richard bolisay should be responsible for his mental exercises like this blog whixh he and other people call film criticism. i think, the director is correct in saying that he has nothing to do with kimmy dora. ergo, his name should not in anyway, if this article is a real crtique on kimmy dora, be dragged into it.

a film should be seen and criticized on its own, on its own merits. hindi yung kung ano ano pa ang sinasabi na out of context naman.

these pseudo critics should learn, that sometimes, they hurt someone’s dreams and life. therefore, they should also be ready for the consequences.

below the belt ang tira ng writer na ito. looking at his picture, i understand that he hides behind words to have an excuse for that face. this is below the belt. but, it’s true. look at the picture.

the unkind words that he writes, not only, about wenn and other filmmakers , are reflections of his physical features.

10. mayk - September 16, 2009

and its a reflection of how stupid you are,john paul. cute naman si chardi ahhh!

11. bruno - September 16, 2009

geez all this brouhaha for a single sentence?! such cheapness! .. oh well, egos and their birds.

12. karl - September 16, 2009

john paul, your comment is so lame, it probably wouldn’t even qualify as metacriticism. it’s just plain cheap. not to mention ignorant.

joyce bernal and wenn deramas are contemporaries, making films for the same comedy genre–heck, even the same production outfit. that connection alone merits such comparisons. yes, deramas may not have anything to do with kimmy dora per se, but he has something to do with philippine comedy films.

you’re talking about “context”? any good film critic should evaluate a film not only “on its own merits” (read: not just mere technical concerns) but also in various relevant contexts, whether it be genre, technique, politics, etc. and you’re faulting bolisay for that?

let’s not even get to your lame-ass ad hominem shot at the critic’s picture. in the first place, maganda ka ba? assuming you are, well, bobo ka naman. (at kung hindi ka rin naman maganda, ay, kawawa.)

13. john paul - September 16, 2009

karl, like bolisay, you hide in big words. ignorant young minds… how frustrating it is to think that you know a lot and yet, you are not given a chance to show it or show off.

you’re talking about context? well, just read bolisay’s “reviews” on other filipino films and how he used words to attack these filmmakers. read how he dismissed pepe diokno and you would recognize envy. where’s is pepe now? licking his his millions of pesos ready to make a new film only to be dismissed by one richard bolisay.

bolisay, like most of the “critics” in the philippines, started out as a filmmaker wannabe. when it was evident that he lacks true talent and resources, he turned into these mental exercises you cal criticisms. but, how does a richard bolisay feel now? sad and envious of other people’s chance to tell their stories. and, how he will end, a frustrated filmmaker.

i challenge you all, to pool your talent and resources together to make that one great filipino film- to embody the opposites of what this richard bolisay abhors in the films of lamangan down to diokno’s engkwentro. that, i have to see.

because, you will fail. because, there is no great filipino film. because, each film contributes to the growth of that great filipino film as it is still in evolution.

these pseudo critics can help the evolution by constructively criticising a film sans the vitriolic attacks aimed at envied filmmakers.

to you karl, yes maganda ako. which, i honestly, can say for bolisay. and, yes, i have all the right to say that. because, he included that picture in this blog. therefore, kasama yan sa nababasa at nakikita ko. it is a fair game.

just a piece of advice: bolisay, you have the words to write these mental exercises, temper it with maturity and compassion. stop killing someone’s dream…

killing someone’s dream is more vicious than killing one’s body.

14. mayk - September 16, 2009

killing his dream??what is he a baby? a baby sucking his thumb?and you licking his shit?hihihi

15. dorky - September 16, 2009

I’ve seen kimmy dora. Eugene, as we all know, is not just a comedienne but a damn good actress. Her timing is exquisite and her artistic choices are well thought of. But I wouldn’t call the film revolutionary. It was decent. It was well-written. It was okay.

Masyado na lang kasi bumaba ang standards natin kaya kapag nakakapanood tayo ng pelikulang matino tatawagin na nating “exemplary” or a “work of a genius” or “cutting edge” or “intelligent.”
I am not saying this to put down the film, don’t get me wrong. Ang sinasabi ko lang huwag naman tayong masyadong OA sa pagka-puri na sobrang ganda dahil marami pa rin siyang puwedeng i-improve. Aminin.

But warts and all, I still enjoyed kimmy dora.

16. karl - September 17, 2009

john paul, a few points:

1. you obviously think that film criticism is an area for bitter wannabe filmmakers. clearly, you don’t know the value of criticism, and the important role it plays in art-making.

2. it’s stupid to challenge film critics to make their own “better” films. does that mean critics should also challenge filmmakers to make their own “better” articles?

3. if you seriously think that a reviewer’s looks are “fair game” and relevant to film criticism, then you have a skewed idea of context.

4. bolisay’s article can kill someone’s dream? he’s THAT almighty? or are the dreams he’s allegedly crushing THAT small?

5. “big words”? i don’t remember using big words. you’re the one throwing motherhood statements here and there. “the great filipino film?” “killing dreams and bodies?” “vitriolic attacks at envied filmmakers?” learn from kimmy. tagalugin mo na lang.

17. jhieghs - September 19, 2009

sobrang galing ni eugene dto… sana may upcoming movie pa ulit sya…sulit ang binayad ko.. sana ilabas ung song ni AIZA dun s movie favorite ko na un eh..

18. jen - September 22, 2009

panisn ko lng wlang nagtagalog lol nag nose bleed ako kakabassa ng mga comments nyo lol…chillax every1 pare pareho taung pinoy… heheh peace :)

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