Thursday, October 06, 2011

Nonoy Marcelo’s Tisoy (1977, Ishmael Bernal)

Viewing tip: 

Before watching this delightful film, make sure to watch the following excellent films:
a) Lino Brocka’s Maynila: Sa Mga Kuko Ng Liwanag
b) Ishmael Bernal’s Nunal sa Tubig
c) Eddie Romero’s Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon
d) Lino Brocka’s Insiang
e) Lupita Kashiwahara’s Minsa’y Isang Gamu-Gamo

Thanks to cable channel Cinema One and those unofficial not-to-be-named archivists, I’m slowly getting exposed to the obscure gems of Ishmael Bernal. Among the surprisingly good ones I’ve seen lately is the comedy film Tisoy.

Straight from the comic strip series by Nonoy Marcelo, Tisoy (Christopher de Leon) is a bohemian balikbayan searching for his father. He gets help from his friends as they scour the immaculately clean Metro Manila. The magnificent opening scenes show the beauty and splendor of the metropolis as Tisoy rides his chopper.

Among the characters he encounters are the iconic Aling Otik (Moody Diaz), a street sweeper who blissfully dances with colleagues along Roxas Boulevard; Maribubut (Charo Santos), a smart, jealous Kabataang Barangay member cleaning up the monumental Rajah Sulayman statue in Malate; Clip, son of Aling Otik; and Tikyo (Bert Tawa Jr.), a well-received balikbayan who’ve seen Americans slowly lose their fruits, oil, and food resources. Tisoy’s casual remarks unveil Tikyo as a former apple picker, gas attendant, and waiter. Tikyo’s interactions with his mysterious boss are truly hilarious.

There is a scene that was probably pilfered from Bernal’s earliest work Ah Ewan, Basta sa Maynila Pa Rin Ako! Nestor Torre writes in his column that producer Eddie Rodriguez was the one who completed the film. A traffic jam scene in the film was, in Torre’s own words, ‘outrageously funny stuff.’ A reboot of the scene done for Tisoy is still stupendously funny. The bumper-to-bumper gridlock took so long to unravel that a potted plant grew into an enormous tree. It was a blast seeing the beauteous plant owner entangled among the branches.

Scriptwriter Nonoy Marcelo is an obvious cinephile. Almost all the films he allude to in Tisoy are titles you regularly see in ‘Top Pinoy Films’ lists.  If you haven’t seen them all, then try to catch the titles listed above. Those films, including Tisoy, were made during the mid-1970s, the so-called Second Golden Age of Philippine Cinema. Maybe I’m missing a couple of film references. Is there a Mike de Leon- or a Celso Ad. Castillo-directed film in there? I need a re-watch. Join the hunt and get a barrel of laughs along the way.

1 comment:

  1. A remake of 1960's comic strip story by Nonoy Marcelo a new dream roles all portrayed by Gerald Anderson Enrique Gil Enchong Dee Arjo Atayde Coleen Garcia Isabelle Daza Pokwang Melai Cantiveros Jason Francisco Hyubs Azarcon Christopher de Leon Jimmy Fabregas Marissa Delgado & others soon be filming underway by Star Cinema/ABS-CBN next year in 2016 soon. Thanks for the information. From:Wayne