Kimmy Dora (Joyce Bernal, 2009) September 12, 2009Posted by Richard Bolisay in Asian Films, Noypi.
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.