Sunday, September 16, 2012

just needed to know what isn't there

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while majority of the population (maids on their day off, gay guys and their boyfriends, straight girls who withheld sex from their boyfriends so they would agree to watch the movie, girls who wish they had John Lloyd as their boyfriend, etc.) stormed the malls, literally, to spend their hard-earned pay on that movie starring John Lloyd and Bea and the wonders of philandering, i went out to see the Marie Jamora film Ang Nawawala (What Isn't There) on a sunday.

the movie is similar to this play i watched before, Next To Normal, where the mother could not get over the death of her son so she has conversations with him, and therefore, she is bipolar.  in the film, after his twin brother Jamie dies, Gibson blames himself and decides he doesn't want to talk to anyone.  i believe they call it elective mutism, the refusal to speak in almost all social situations despite the normal ability to do so (he speaks with Jamie when he is alone and talks to everyone else by signing or texting) as compared to selective mutism which is the failure to speak in specific situations and is strongly associated with social anxiety disorder.

anyway, the death of his twin brother has caused a strain in the relationship of everyone in the family, as his mother is still hurt from the loss.  he blames himself for losing his brother and everyone else tries to cope with the death and his refusal to speak. even his twin Jamie (his hallucination) thinks he shouldn't be blaming himself but he does.  he thinks his parents thought the wrong twin died.  the only time he felt happy and had the urge to actually speak up was when he met Enid who, sadly, hasn't gotten over her ex-boyfriend Deacon so when he finally started to talk, it felt kind of useless since she didn't want him as much as he wanted her.

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i've been seeing a lot of good feedback over this movie and i really love the soundtrack.  i wish i had a copy.  unfortunately,  i saw the movie with just ten other people in the theater.  unlike The Mistress (that cursed John Lloyd-Bea movie),  nobody can really relate to Ang Nawawala, unless you've been casing the local music scene, or you're mute or you really want to see Boboy Garovillo married to Dawn Zulueta or Marc Abaya's really bad hair.  the music is superb and the credits run with the orchestra version of the Eraserheads' Minsan but nobody wants to see it.  maybe because not everyone was born to a family where if you decide you no longer want to speak, they'll just send you to Walthamstow or Hong Kong or India to study and pay for your therapist until you do decide to speak.  maybe because not everyone was born to a family where speaking in English is second nature.  maybe because in the 80s, people were listening to Madonna and Michael Jackson and not to Depeche Mode, R.E.M. and U2.

it's hard to tell your story, no matter how innovative and original it is if people don't think it was worth wasting their time on because they cannot relate to you.  that's the sad plight of independent film makers and musicians.  it's sad to think that we have a lot of philanderers and concubines in this country, because that's what sells tickets. i refuse to believe that the definition of independent film is sex and violence. i admire Marie's courage to make this film, along with everyone else who supported her to make it possible and i hope they don't give up making films, the same way i hope they don't stop making great Filipino music.

i don't like going to the malls on sundays but i went anyway to see what isn't there and i find that there's a lonely road to sunday night.