By Heinrich Domingo
Bingoleras is a critique of the Catholic Church and its views on women in the society. It presented loud, hypersexual, strong-willed women countering the church’s stereotypes. For a country that cannot separate religion and its state affairs, this film is helpful in making the public realize that women can be more than Virgin Marys. They are not defined by a male-ruled institution that makes people believe that their god is a man.
A con duo visits a small town and conducts a fraudulent Bingo contest. Under the church’s watch, they made the whole town contribute to a fake orphanage. They developed friendship with other four women and together, they all discovered things about themselves. This film is about emancipation from ignorance and the consequent discovery that women can do more in a man’s world.
Bingoleras’ excellent actresses compensate from the movie’s inconsistent plot. They were able to suffice what the screenplay cannot offer. Max Eigenmann, Eula Valdez, Mercedes Cabral, and Liza Dino were able to embody women which are seldom seen in catholic communities. With this, the movie can still claim being effective.
Diversity of women characters play at the heart of this movie. Aside from their sexuality, the plot also discussed their role in the society. Such portrayal is important in the advancement of gender discourse. Women are boxed in specific roles of either being a beauty or a vamp. In order to extend understanding and appreciation of women, they must also be seen bearing diverse personalities.
Although the story has commendable intention, its screenplay was insufficient and often times problematic. It discusses a lot of details that viewers find it difficult to look for a general thesis. From Catholic Church criticism to the church development, the film’s elements were sloppily arranged. Also, its climax was not compelling enough making the audience feel like the storyline will fall flat on the floor anytime.
Bingoleras has a lot of rooms for improvement. Its story can be better delivered from a more experienced director. Its flopped screenplay and production design added to things that went wrong.
Relative to other countries, Philippine films feature a lot of strong women characters thanks to its independent cinema movement. In the past years, LGBTs and feminist films found their way to movie houses. Bingoleras is a proof of the successful quest towards expanding the understanding of the public towards what women can do. It is a good example that our country has feminist films even in the not-so-good films.
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