Balang Araw (Archie Dimaculangan, Cheska Ramos, Jose Antonio de Rivera, 2012) January 31, 2012Posted by Richard Bolisay in Asian Films, Festival, Noypi.
Directed by Archie Dimaculangan, Cheska Ramos, and Jose Antonio de Rivera
Cast: Aleera Montalla, Jao Mapa, Shielbert Manuel. Alex Vincent Medina
One of these days you might find yourself watching Balang Araw and pondering on the same thing: is there anything discerning that can be said about the film? Indulgence will give way to a finer thought: are the nice things about it enough to come up with an insight? More importantly, would it matter? Sure, it has a decent story and a respectable set of actors as its limbs. The storytelling may not be fresh, but the visuals are engaging, and if not for a small geographical glitch, the attempt at presenting an organized chaos would have been somewhat credible. But discerning? Not really. It’s a tolerable movie, like one of those colorful marbles that’s always kept inside the “not bad, not great” jar. Unlike Suntok sa Buwan and its inconsiderate length, Balang Araw recognizes that it doesn’t have much to say, too little in fact that a huge chunk of the film is devoted to deliberately building the tension towards its climax. For a work that values technique over content, pulling a surprise is the least of its concern: telling something new is minor. The gathering of characters at a convenience store adds to the anxiety, but the execution falls short at its peak, especially when you realize that the twenty-something gunman/gamer is ruining the film’s final minutes. In light of this whole SM Bigshot shebang, and “its continuing efforts to champion the advancement of film literacy in the country and to promote Philippine cinema as a vehicle for cultural identity,” you might also wonder, is the term “modern hero” just a slippery catchphrase that gets triter and triter over time? Do we always have to encourage this stagnant facet of our culture? “Hope is the dream of a waking man,” Aristotle once said, but he also told everyone that “youth is easily deceived because it is quick to hope.” He’s just saying: go ahead and choose a quote to blindfold you.