Saturday, April 04, 2009

Cavite - The Movie



I recently watched an independent film that had me intrigued just from the title--Cavite. It was written and directed by two Filipino-Americans, Ian Gamazon and Neill Dela Llana, on a nearly non-existent budget apparently (known as guerrilla film making), which is quite obvious from watching the movie.

It is essentially about an Americanized Filipino Muslim who returns to the Philippines to find his mother and sister abducted by the Abu-Sayyaf. I must commend the filmmakers for brilliantly using the bizarre and disturbing elements of Filipino slum life to accentuate the suspenseful and thrilling aspects of the movie.

I also liked the cultural differences exhibited in the story. Specifically, it was interesting how the writers truthfully shed light on an Asian American male's inferiority in the US, as the main actor gets dumped by his American girlfriend and she has their unborn child aborted. Furthermore, the dullness of American corporate life was also portrayed as the main actor works as a lowly security guard on the night shift. This is contrasted in the movie with the life and bustle in the Philippines. And finally, I give credit to the writers/directors for uniquely giving insight into the struggles of Muslims, and Filipinos in general. Not to take away from their deed of making a Philippine-oriented film, but it just seemed as if the Americanized writers/directors were just a little out of touch with native Philippines.

However, I found the movie to be quite unrealistic at parts. First, the voice of the terrorist in the movie sounded more like a Filipino-American than a Mindanao native. Also, the terrorist seemed to have an omniscient eye that was able to see/hear the main actor's every move, but I highly doubt the Abu-Sayyaf really have such high-tech gadgetry or know-how. Finally, the so-called terrorist was almost being comical (and friendly) at times, like singing a song ("Totoy Bibo") to interrupt his directions, which I found to be a bit unrealistic.

The film probably won't help Philippine tourism, but instead hurt it, because I think they've succeeded in scaring all potential tourists away who have watched this movie. But that's the beauty of the angle in which something is viewed. Cavite was only a narrow portrayal of chaotic, cut-throat life in the Philippine urban slums, which is not at all the only form of life or environment in the Philippines. That's the artistry of perspective, and the filmmakers were well aware of it as they cleverly took advantage of the squalid settings to give the film its fear factor.

Below is a photo gallery and the movie trailer for the independent film Cavite, which is directed and written by Ian Gamazon and Neill Dela Llana and produced by Gorilla Films Production.



3 comments:

biyahengpinoy said...

nice observation. however, i would still try to see it and see what my reaction would be. :)

thank you coconuter for the comment in my blog. yes, i have to admit, my blog header is really nice. unfortunately, i didn't make it. hahaha.

ps. i saw you in tv. nice story.

diane said...

hi coconuter!
yeah i've seen that movie few months back on on demand, that movie is quite disturbing though and intriguing. i agree about the terrorist, he doesn't really sounds like a mindanao native.
anwyay, i've been reading your blog since the beginning, well since after i saw you on tv. love your blog!

MikeNK said...

If the purpose of the film was to show how the Muslims are oppressed and make me feel sorry for them it failed miserably. It makes me hate them and see them as ignorant animals who deserve to be wiped out of the Philippines. If the purpose was to make me see the poverty, it succeeded but no one believes that giving muslims independence in Mindinao will solve that problem, indeed, lack of tourism money due to fear of terror from Muslim terrorists accounts for much of the poverty they have now.

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