(posted on another forum)
Finally saw "Babae sa Breakwater," about the people living in hovels along the Manila Bay breakwater.
I think it's the best Filipino film in the past two--maybe three years.
I don't understand what's being said about "bad editing." O'Hara's editing here is imaginative, coherent, precise. Editing is the Achilles' Heel of Filipino filmmakers, only a handful show any kind of skill at it (I don't mean them per se, but the editing style is consistent from film to film): Gerry de Leon, Celso Ad. Castillo, Tikoy Aguiluz, Mike de Leon, and Mario O'Hara.
I agree it's very rich. If it lacks, uh, what's that, something, it probably lacks production value--the very thing Star Cinema and Viva Film productions have, and the very thing that matters least in a work of art. Production value is nothing--not when you have ideas, imagination, and genuine filmmaking skill at work.
As for production design--well, there isn't much. It's mainly locations, well chosen, I think. that show the huge difference between the kind of seamless, hygenic, rather lifeless postmodern architecture favored for upper-class, tourist-infested areas (like along Manila Bay) and the dirty, lively creatures that infest their foundations.
Wonderful, lyrical film, goes beyond what Lino Brocka started with his social realism. I'll say more when I can later.