Sunday, August 12, 2012

Posas (Lawrence Fajardo, Cinemalaya 2012 Directors Showcase Best Picture)

Those damned discs almost ruined the film for me. It is a good thing that the film has the midas touch of its producer and creative/script consultant.

An early scene shows a shady character (Art Acuña) waiting for someone. A guy, along with his kid, comes in and gives the man a wad of money and at least three amaray cases of DVDs. I’ve made a mental note of those DVDs because they seem valuable. I’m not even sure if they are DVDs. It might be CDs or Blu-Ray discs in them. All I know are those discs are important because of the way they are presented onscreen.

Lawrence Fajardo’s Posas then proceeds to tell a straightforward account of the experiences of a beauteous call center agent, Ma. Grace Rosuello (Bangs Garcia). She seeks the help of the police after a man took off with her cell phone. Partnering with a policeman, she scours the nooks and cranny of Quiapo in search of the snatcher. Grace eventually points out the culprit to the policeman.

The film takes on a different texture and pace as the high-gear chase is on. The drug enhanced-like texture conveys the snatcher's adrenaline rush. From the streets up to the fire escape exits and down once again to the streets, the action feels like it blazed through from the Bourne Legacy shoot. It is a well-directed set-piece showing a veteran snatcher's mastery of his surroundings. It took the help of a second policeman to nab the pesky parkour enthusiast.

The film slows down to a documentary-like feel after the arrest of the shifty-eyed kid, Jestoni Biag (Nico Antonio). We get to peep into what goes on inside a police station. This should have been an ordinary criminal case. But, with shady characters in the police force, Rosuello's search for justice turns into a hellish nightmare for Biag. Red tape, graphic police brutality, excruciatingly long wait for justice, and the perversion of justice are shown in full glory. Posas joins Last Supper No. 3 and Anatomiya ng Korupsiyon in the list of notable films dealing with corruption in the police and judiciary ranks and the Filipinos' long wait for justice.

The midas touch of producer Josabeth Alonso is still there. In two years of Cinemalaya competitions, she has garnered three best picture awards for the films Bisperas, Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank, and now, with Posas. The latter's winning of the Best Picture award might have been the most cherished by Alonso because of her involvement as the film's creative consultant. From the arrest up to the eventual fate of Biag, the film is full of eye-opening legal details that only a person privy to criminal cases and police bureaucracy can provide. 

Now, what about the DVDs? As the film went on, I thought that they will have some connection with the main concern of Rosuello. She desperately wants to get back her stolen cellphone because a scandalous sex video of hers is in it. The movie in my mind went overboard when the phone's SIM card was missing. But, all for naught. The real film ended without tackling sex videos. (Sayang. Bangs Garcia sana iyun, eh.So, what was the point of showing the cases of DVDs? 

If you're fortunate enough to have ignored them at the start, then you've had a better viewing experience than me. Despite the minor quirk about the errant DVDs, the lean and mean Posas is the best Fajardo film yet.

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