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Jocelyn, Rainier, and Bingbong are three film school graduates who are dead set on making an Oscar-worthy film. They set out to do a quick pre-production as a courtesy call to their lead actress played by Eugene Domingo, and a through inspection of their film's major location, the Payatas dumpsite. They believe they have a winning script, and the energy and drive to make their dreams come true, no matter what the cost. Written by
First and foremost, I have not read a single review for the movie "Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank", so as not to influence my critique.
Secondly, being that this is a well-loved movie, allow me to put the blame upon all the made-up hype and propaganda claiming that this film is too good to be true; and I hold the people's word-of-mouth liable for what may sound as a bad assessment coming from me.
"Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank" stars Eugene Domingo, JM De Guzman, and Kean Cipriano, and it is an inside look into the creation of Filipino indie (independent) movies through the misadventures of three (no, two!) young filmmakers. Eugene Domingo plays a fictional version of herself (and perhaps realistic versions of well-known Filipina actresses) who is asked to be the star in the movie that will be shot and filmed by the producer played by JM De Guzman and idealistic director played by Kean Cipriano. Not to give away any important details, the movie is about the brainstorming of two filmmakers on how to go about creating THE movie masterpiece worthy of the annual foreign film festival circuit, and along way they encounter mishaps and strange circumstances. The premise of the film-within-the-film deals with Ms. Domingo as a mother who was forced to sell one of her children to a pedophile due to extreme poverty. It seemed as though the entire movie is an acting piece made with her in mind; a well-written personal resumé to keep the juicy parts coming in. Now the bitter herbs: story-wise, there's not much to go on; just a day in the life of two individuals conversing about making a movie. The supposed "plot-twists" (two of them) are strategically placed in the final moments of the movie to add extra oomph to an otherwise-dreary storytelling; I'm not even going to say why the movie is called "Babae sa Septic Tank" because I just might ruin it for folks who have not seen it yet. One could swear that they took the plot from an old high school stage play trick wherein they act out a single scene in different styles (Violent, Melodramatic, Musical, Slow Motion, etc.). Creativity and effort towards direction and production design are unmistakable (given the probable lack of budget common to these kinds of movies), but it still lacks the grip to keep viewers interested until the very last moment.
The real gem of the movie is Eugene Domingo. It seemed as though the entire movie is an acting piece made with her in mind; a well-written personal resumé to keep the juicy parts coming in. Once again she proves her adaptability in different kinds of characters; even if it is just in one movie. She upstages every single actor and actress in all of the scenes she is in. She plays the prima donna, the poor mother, the Broadway performer, and the cliché drama actress all quite masterfully. The movie should have been titled "The Eugene Domingo Movie", but that would make one of her in-movie counterparts just too happy.
Altogether, "Ang Babae sa Septic Tank" is quite forgettable, but nevertheless deserves applause for the effort. There were a lot of things that could have been done to make it way better. for some people it may be enough, but take Eugene Domingo away from it and the entire picture would be crumble to dust.
We can thank them for teaching some basics on budget filmmaking, though.
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