"Oro, Plata, Mata" and "Mga Bilanggong Birhen"

For an additional corrective to Oro, Plata, Mata (Gold, Silver, Death, 1982), check out (Mario) O'Hara's Mga Bilanggong Birhen (The Captured Virgins, 1977). Even if O'Hara walked out before postproduction (mapapansin mo napakagarapal and disjointed ang editing ng film na ito (You'll notice the editing is rough and disjointed)), it still has his beautifully understated visual intelligence. Plus O'Hara gives us many sides not just to the upper-class characters (who (Peque) Gallaga has more empathy for) but the lower-class ones as well (who Gallaga demonizes in Oro, Plata). Gallaga fails to develop his characters in the second act (the provincial house and forest sequences), so we hardly care about them in the third (the raid on the forest house and the assault on the bandits). In Bilanggong Birhen you do come to care for what happens to Armida Siguion Reyna (The unfaithful wife--I do think it's the performance of her career), to Mario Montenegro (The rebel leader), to Alma Moreno (Armida's daughter) and Rez Cortez (Alma's lover).

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