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12.05.2012

CINEMA ONE: THE LOWDOWN PART II

Aberya 
Directed by Christian Libanan 
Written bY Ara Chawdhury and Christian Libanan

Mariposa Sa Hawla Ng Gabi
Directed by Richard Somes
Written by Richard Somes, Boo Dabu and Jimmy Flores

Mater Dolorosa
Directed by Adolfo Borinaga Alix Jr.
Written by Jerry Gracio








Aberya: Difficult as it is to dismiss how jacked up with promise this is and how its reach has balls, only one of the four separate lives that inevitably intertwine here has juice: a drug dealer experimenting with ways to travel through time using narcotic cocktails. The rest, which include a boxer and a whore and a wannabe socialite, lose me a little and most of this loses to my issues with the post-postmodern aesthetic Linaban favors, dangerously verging on either MTV sensory overload or hipster self-awareness,  both of which, to his immense credit, he rejects falling back on full-bore.  

Mariposa Sa Hawla Ng Gabi : It's saying a lot to say this hits a ceiling with regards to how visually sumptuous it is, as every Richard Somes film looks good enough almost to eat.  His alternate universe re-imagining of Manila as a gaudy noir carnival of color and grime, through which a feisty young country woman tries to get to the bottom of her sister's brutal murder not to mention the mysterious body modifications visited on her corpse, smacks of equal parts Fellini and Sion Sono, and does gain the relentless, fucked-up weirdness that implies.

Mater Dolorosa:  Granted, it trawls over little that's new, but then again, every big-boned post-Godfather gangster saga, from Election to We Own The Night, doesn't necessarily trawl over anything new either, all being essentially iterations of the politics of family. Shakespearean is the go-to qualifier, which is meant to imply that they're knotty and messy and operatic. Only here, everything is subdued to the point of nonchalance, even its colors are muted to a shade of gray you assume is the moral tenor of its characters, achieving a sense of the equilibrium you also assume is how you give yourself over to this sort of life.


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