Saturday, 25 July 2009

Pepe Diokno's Engkwentro

Bring bonamine, meclizine or ginger - Especially if you are about forty years old.

Pepe Diokno's film is a very brave film. Not because it seems to alludes to assasination or what people call salvaging but it does. Not because the characters in rhe film looks and feels familiar to what we see from time to time in the pages of our newspapers but it does.

The film has a story to tell like all movies and also has a message.

Diokno and ensemble tells us the story a young petty criminal and his brother. A day in their lives - from sunrise to sunset. It is a grim and violent world that is shown to us.

Felix Rocco plays the lead character in the film and its not his day today. He is running away a death sentence has been imposed on him. His only brother who they send to school has gone astray - not only plsying hokey but has joined a rival gang. And then he has to contend with a home without a mother - who has left to work in Manila - leaving them to the care a parapelagic father who also has a drug habit.

Its not a pretty picture. Add to this sound and images shown frequently but only briefly from the radio and television sets of the squatter colony. A very bleak and dark story.

The cinematography is edgy and shakey. Similar to films like Cloverfield and the Blair Witch Project. It adds bristtles and a great degree of jaggedness to film. Although it also induces vertigo to a number of viewers - me included.

Engkwentro with its jerky camera movements and up front brutality not only causes vertigo but also begs the question about justice in our world and the price of law and order. Its not black or white really but it is valid question. And perhaps that is why it is a brave film.

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