7/30/05

Mike de Leon's "Itim" and "Kisapmata"

From pinoydvd:

Max: I finally got a chance to see Itim and Kisapmata. The lack of subtitles was a problem especially for Kisapmata. I was able to fully enjoy Itim, though. I have to thank all the kind guys who helped me to see this movie. It proved my theories, but aside from this, WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MOVIE!!! It has some really impressive scenes that stand in my mind. I, beeing italian, am as sensible as filippine people to christian religion issues, and the scene in the church with all the Jesus Christ statues is visually impressive!

I would like to talk about it longer, noting the similarities with Kaidan kasane ga fuchi by Nakagawa Nobuo and The innocents by Jack Clayton, but I'm too busy with finishing my thesis.

I need some help again. I generally understood Itim, but there are some points that still are not completely clear. Can someone help me?

SPOILERS

ITIM

I would like to better understand what was the relationship between the father of the photographer and the dead sister. He was a surgeon and the girl had an abortion. I guess the baby was their, but why kill the baby? And above all, why kill the girl and throw her in the lake?

Then , if the father knew he killed the sister, why did he accept to take part to the séance with the espiritista and everybody? So why he is a "Criminal!!!"?

Could you also please shed some more detail on the reasons why the father had an accident and is in a wheel chair?

KISAPMATA

Well, here the lack of subtitles is a disaster. They talk a lot and I didn't understand anything, except for the morbid attachment of the father to the girl and the shocking ending. Why the father first oblidge Jay Ilagan to marry Charo Santos and then prevent him even to see her or call her on the phone? Here I think I need a more detailed summury of the film story.

Please, help me, even write a personal email if you don't want to spoil the stories of the movies. I have to hand over the thesis Friday, so, please, answer me within tomorrow. Salamat!

Itim (SPOILERS)  

Max: I would like to better understand what was the relationship between the father of the photographer and the dead sister.

They were lovers

Max: He was a surgeon and the girl had an abortion. I guess the baby was their, but why kill the baby? And above all, why kill the girl and throwher in the lake?

Fear of scandal, especially in that earlier time. The father is a respectable figure in society and the affair and abortion would be a serious stain. Think Vertigo and the story of Carlotta Valdez (only there the man took the baby away from the woman; Mario Montenegro (the photographer's father) is powerful but not that powerful).

Max: Then , if the father knew he killed the sister, why did he accept to take part to the séance with the espiritista and everybody?

He had no choice; he's paralyzed.

This was my main complaint with. Itim compared to Kisapmata. Both are beautifully shot, and Itim is more openly gothic in style (Kisapmata's visual style is more understated, which is closer to Mike's ideal). But Itim's antagonist is paralyzed, and therefore passive; he's the bad guy, but he can't do anything, so there's not much tension except for what Mike can drum up with his cinematography. I tend to think of Itim as a first draft of Kisapmata, where the father is fully realized: there, the father takes center stage, is a fully malevolent figure, and actively creates the final tragedy.

Max: So why he is a "Criminal!!!"?.

Because he's a man rich enough and powerful enough to do what he wants.

Max: Could you also please shed some more detail on the reasons why the father had an accident and is in a wheel chair?

Because of a stroke, if I remember correctly (correction: a car accident).

Kisapmata (SPOILERS)

Max: The lack of subtitles is a disaster

That's a shame; the dialogue is excellent, adds much to their respective characters (the father and mother talk in Ilocano, and the sense of a private relationship, of terrorist and terrorized in a language no one else can understand, is very palpable). I might also add that there is something of the character of Mike de Leon in both the boyfriend/husband and the father...

Why the father first oblidge Jay Ilagan to marry Charo Santos and then prevent him even to see her or call her on the phone?

He felt he didn't have a choice; a pregnant unmarried daughter is a huge scandal, especially for an old-fashioned family like theirs.

You need to realize that in the Philippines, face and honor is considered almost more important than actual wealth and power (the exceptions are never openly so, and are a source of much of our drama).

Once married, the scandal is past; now that the daughter has a legitimate spouse the father little by little usurps the husband's role. You also need to realize that the baby is probably the father's and not the boyfriend/husband's--which is probably why the girl went to bed with her boyfriend (to provide a less shocking source for her impregnation) and why the father so desperately wants the daughter and her child with him.

3 comments:

yves228 said...

Hi! I am an avid fan of vintage Filipino movies. I cam across your link and would like to know how you were able to see both "Itim" and "Kisapmata". I am starting to collect really old Filipino movies dating 1960s to early 1980s. Please email me at ydreys2@aol.com

yves228 said...

Ooops...I made a mistake with my email. Please email me at ydreys2@yahoo.com thankyou.

mayday69962004@yahoo.com said...

i was wondering if you could tell me where to get a copy of Itim, i have heard a lot about it and would love to own it..... please let me know at mayday69962004@yahoo.com.   thank you so much....
                           
                                                                                         Craig