Mario vs. Mario

Excerpt from Mario Bautista's review of Aishite Imasu


We have seen many local films about the last world war, like Mario O'Hara's anti-war flick, "Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos" (Three Years Without God, 1976) which became too arty for comfort particularly in that highly theatrical scene where vengeful women gang up on Nora Aunor to cut her hair for having an affair with a Japanese officer.

Labnyuk: Any comment, Mr. Noel Vera? 

Mr. Bautista seems to know only one way to cook adobo.

If theatrical staging were an 'arty' flaw, and O'Hara is to be blamed for using it, why he's in perfectly good company, as Ingmar Bergman, Jean Renoir, and even Kurosawa might tell you (The Lower Depths, anyone? They Who Step on the Tiger's Tail?).

Even Brocka and Bernal had their 'stagey' moments--the last shot in Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang for one, or Bernardo Bernardo running out of the morgue and screaming in Manila by Night (very Tennessee Williams); in fact, almost all of Salawahan is arguably very well done stage choreography, with a limited number of people moving in and out of a limited number of sets to deliver witty lines of dialogue.

It's a style, and as art critic Jolicco Cuadra pointed out, that instance Mr. B mentions in the film is visually justified, The circle the women made around Nora in Tatlong Taong links what they're doing to the children making a similar circle at the beginning of the film. The implication is that these women are also children playing games, children who aren't fully aware of what they're doing, much like the children in Golding's Lord of the Flies. In their innocence, they commit tragedy.

He should study the art of cooking adobo more deeply.

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