SYNOPSIS Ang Babae sa Septic Tank chronicles a day in the life of three ambitious, passionate but misguided filmmakers as they set out to do a quick pre-prod at Starbucks, a courtesy call to their lead actress, Eugene Domingo, and an ocular inspection of their film’s major location, the Payatas dumpsite.
Director Rainier, Producer Bingbong and Production Assistant Jocelyn are well-to-do, well-educated film school graduates who are dead set on making an Oscar worthy film. They believe they have a winning script, the energy and the drive to make their dreams come true. Like most filmmakers they know, they have devised a screenplay that will show the real essence of our culture: poverty. In the course of one day, they brainstorm and exhaust all possible treatment of their project: the story of Mila (Eugene Domingo), a mother from the slums, who out of desperation to survive, has sold her child to a pedophile. As they discuss the possible executions of the story, the movie-within-a-movie gets reborn in Jocelyn’s imagination several times.
As a gritty no frills neo-realist film, as a glossy musical, as an over-the-top melodrama and as a docu drama using non-actors. For their last task of the day, they visit the dumpsite for the first time. As filmmakers gunning for authenticity, they get excited with the ”beauty” of the squalor around them. Soon enough, they are faced with reality as they come face to face with the real effects of their chosen subject. Babae sa Septic Tank is a comedy about misguided ambitions, the art of making art and the romanticization of poverty.My Review
Cinemalaya has brought us another film that embraces different perception in treating its plot.This is the brighter side of shit. Ang Babae sa Septic Tank (ABSST), directed by Marlon Rivera, is a film that broke some rules in filmmaking and expressed it intelligently fusing comedy and reality to convey message. A masterpiece depicting what does Indie filmmaking could do to move a mountain. To move feelings. To show realities. To strike the chicken indirectly.
Eugene Domingo is an incredible artist. She didn't frustrate me. She has tickled me once again in different ways. She dropped lines fluently as she excellently drops tears when she does her drama on this film.
I got impressed also with Kean Cipriano's acting as Direk Rainier who tried figuring out as to how would they enhance their story for their ambitious docu drama film "WALANG WALA". His team was eyeing Eugene Domingo to be their main actress who will act as a poor mother in Payatas dumpsite. This exposes real scenes in Payatas. Obviously, ABSST likes to present to the world how miserable life is living in a dump site.Again, I love how the film tells the story indirectly.
This film has lessons hiding behind the script. You just have to grind it while laughing. Here some views I have dissected from this shitty film.
Indie films have been known because of its unique approaches. Shaky shots are trashes in filmmaking but for indie, with low-budget, it is forgivable.Today, filmmakers including mainstream filmmakers apply shaky shots to really look like indie. To look like a low budgeted film even if it has sufficient production cost. ABSST pointed this out. "The shakier the better" JM said to Kean who is envisioning to be recognized in international film fest.The point here is, ABSST reflected the reality that prime filmmakers shifted to what has been tagged as "flaws" in shooting. It is not in the book either. My film teacher didn't even teach us to intentionally shake the camera because its a NO NO. But today, it is intentionally done by most of indie and mainstream filmmakers.Wise.
When Eugene edited the script, the story was powered a bit.Empowered by commercials. Obviously, they wanted to show another scenario in film making--the so-called Commercialized Films. This kind of film incorporates covert advertising where product brands are glaringly exposed to indirectly advertise. ABSST tried to relate us that films nowadays have this kind of marketing strategy to finance the production itself.And for me, it sucks. The chances to influence the audience drops down everytime I see film with covert advertising style.
ABSST teaches us also, filmmakers, to be guided accordingly when shooting. There is a scene where their car has been dismantled by bad folks while filmmakers were overwhelmed with the perfect location and forget the word "safety first". I remember one when an actor was shot by a security guard who was not informed that the victim was just acting as killer-robber in an indie film.The guard didn't know that there was a camera rolling.
Fun. Fresh shit. Fresh film.I have watched another excellent filipino film.I am sick of I-Love-You-Goodbye movies.This is not a Piolo-KC or Lloydie-Sarah movie. This is a fusion of comedy,reality and art to move a society. To influence. To call our government for change. To feed the audience with a new taste in filmmaking menu.
Finally, ang babae has nothing to do,actually,with the septic tank. Watch and learn.