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By Heinrich Domingo

Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin brings to the big screen a myriad of tales mocking the rotting aspects of Philippine cinema. Its imitation is flattering. But as it further immerses itself into the quicksand of clichés, expected endings, and unconvincing editing, it loses its grip on its real purpose. The film ironically ended to be just like the materials it ridiculed and laughed at.

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It is an unrelated three-part movie that claims to have the moral ascendancy of criticizing bad practices of Filipino moviemaking. The first story speaks of the 1960s hit combo of action and romance. In its center stage is the performance of Candy Pangilinan (as Divina Tuazon) and Benjie Paras (as Diego).   The two played a typical celebrity and action star love team that ends with a fight scene inside an abandoned building. The second part parodies horror films that continue to infest the movie houses today. Starred are onscreen wife and husband Maricel Soriano (as Cora Catacutan) and Herbert Bautista (as Carlos). Their family took shelter in a white mansion that soon turned out to be a haunted house. The last and probably the best part, mimics 1990s soap opera romances which bank on beautiful faces of cast. Christine Reyes (as Marie), Antonette Taus (Señorita Avila), Paolo Ballesteros (as Señorito Boglee), and Jason Gainza (as Señorito Lapid) gave life to chick flick stories – rich guy falls in love with poor girl, demeaned heroine comes back for revenge.

The movie rightfully captures the worst aspects of Filipino media. Yet, without a definition of itself, the audience easily confused the film with the things it parodies. Instead of exposing the bad nature of movies in the country, Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin comfortably chose to be typical. The viewers see a film that enlivens the adage ‘if you can’t beat them, join them.’

Comedy is at the heart of a parody film to be successful. Without humor, the film merely becomes a failed copycat that desperately clings on to the popular to claim the spotlight. Viva Films’ latest offering does this. Awkward punch lines and wrong timing ruin the potential of the star-studded cast. Simply, Filipino viewers and readers have outgrown Bob Ong’s writings.

It is noteworthy though that this film can begin the entry of parodies in cinema. Satire and mockery are manifestations of diverse and free media. Their cry for change usually gets noticed by the hegemony. Through mimicking the negative aspects of Filipino films, they can provide a strong feedback on how people have been fed up with repetitive and predictable stories.

While Hollywood has produced outstanding parody films, Philippines is new to this genre. Directors and movie producers are in a challenge of finding the best method of injecting humor to materials that bare meaning and importance. In parallel, Filipino viewers need to elevate the quality of films they consume inside the cinema. They can begin with the initial step of recognizing that humor, contrary to popular belief, can be intelligent and critical.

2 stars

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