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Maicling pelicula nañg ysañg Indio Nacional 2005
Description: What follows is a black-and-white silent movie set in the 1890s during the brewing Filipino revolution vs Spanish colonialism. A series of tragic and comic sequences says the Three Ages of an Indio (“common man”) as he progresses from man bell ringer in a village church to teenage revolutionary to adult theater actor rehearsing a famous Spanish play.
Released: N/A Director: Raya Martin Writers: N/A Actors: The Barasoain Kalinangan Theater Group, Lemuel Galman, Mark Joshua Maclang, Russell Ongkeko Genres: Drama, History
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Maicling pelicula nañg ysañg Indio Nacional Reviews:

This experimental Filipino film is far from a total success, but at least its in-your-face strangeness will create it somewhat interesting for those interested in seeing movies of a various sort. The begin is akin to a use of endurance for cinephiles, as the camera stands still showing nothing but a couple sleeping in the floor of a hut for the first 15 mins (I'm not making this up, I looked at my watch). Eventually, the woman, who is unable to sleep, wakes up the boy at her side, saying him to say her a storyline so she can sleep. He complies with a rambling monologue about the suffering of the Filipino people. The movie then moves on to the better second part, where fake footage in the style of silent films is shown. This shows life in the Philippines supposedly during the end of the colonial period through a series of vignettes. These vignettes are mildly humorous (one shows a number of kids looking at an eclipse with gaping mouths). Eventually, something akin to a storyline comes out of the movie, as revolutionaries meet to plan rebellion from Spanish rule. It's difficult to compare this film with another films, though its fetishism of silent films recalls the work of Guy Maddin. I found it also reminiscent of a better movie, "Moeder Dao" in which true documentary footage of colonial life in Indonesia was shown.


It's everytime hit-or-miss when you select to see smaller movies at festivals shooting for thematic diversity and a multitude of countries of origin. The relative lack of press for "A Short Movie About the Indio Nacional" combined with its ostensibly historical perspective on the Philippine Revolution made it a rather pretty alternative at the Copenhagen NatFilm Festival.The two part film opens with a fully contrived sequence lasting an eternity. A weepy girl struggles to fall asleep in a tiny hut as the audience struggles to stay awake through three extraordinarily drawn-out shots eventually showing the girl waking a boy at her side. Few massive sighs later, he resigns to saying her a storyline -- one which she "can't say anybody" -- a rather mundane monologue on the suffering Nation punctuated by exaggerated snivels and suppressed tears of the actually weepy man. Fade out, end of part I.One can't really fault the actor for trying to say the story/dream in a single take with some emotional involvement, it's the director who fails to control his excessive sniffling and deliever some type of believable arc to the emotional build-up and come-down.Part II is a series of mismatched silent vignettes depicting detailed moments of village life in what's assumed to be the years of the Philippine Revolution (1896-98). A group of men said to look up at the sky with gaping mouths (one looks like some type of ghoul with his eyes rolling back into his forehead) in awe of a solar eclipse (explained to us in both an inter-title and an animated smiley-sun covered by an indifferent moon). A traveling acting troupe testing some type of word association minigame in-between rehearsals cuts to a young boy preparing to join the Katipunan (the nationalist society seeking independence from Spain) and somewhere in there is a shot of two sisters tending to their third sister lying in bed, "dying of slavery".It's simple to see that the director's intentions are noble, to illuminate a certain method of life via tiny moments in an otherwise forgotten anti-colonial revolution, but the artistic decisions he makes end up undermining the storyline of the indios nacional. Every of the silent vignettes is accompanied by the decadent western classical and operatic works of Schumann, Ligeti, Mozart and others. Much like European/American silent movie of the teens and 20's, the melody often fails to synchronize with the scene's beginning and end (not necessarily a flaw), but here the musical passages seem to have been randomly cut-and-pasted onto different sequences, failing to enrich, amplify or complement the photos and instead colonizing them, swallowing them up.The constructive decision to portray this period in Philippino history in silent b/w from the perspective of the indios (not directly involved in the revolution) seems stylistically symbolic for a voiceless population deemed irrelevant and antiquated, forgotten in history. But, how does this movie do justice to its subject? Do we now learn anything about the method the indios lived? Are there any insights (political, moral, social) into the revolution? With such a disjointed storyboard (it can't be named a screenplay; there's no story), it's nearly impossible to see how the nebulous generalities of Part I are cleared up by the equally vague vignettes of Part II.Skip it.



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