Tuesday, September 04, 2012

I Do Bidoo Bidoo: Heto nApo Sila (Chris Martinez, 2012)

'Tawa kami ng tawa... Kumakanta rin kami...'

Those were the words of my elder sister. She seldom sees local films, err any films, in cinemas. The rare times that she did, I think my recommendations played a major factor. Last year, at my urging, she watched and enjoyed the Chris Martinez-penned film Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank. She shared an amusing incident while queuing for the next film screening. She was bewildered to see viewers coming out of the cinema with their food untouched. 

Buckets of popcorn were still full to the brim and hotdog sandwiches were left uneaten. It was only after seeing the early scenes that she found out the reason behind the mystery. Viewers lost their appetite after seeing a street dog sniffed a child's poop. That was some kind of baptism of fire for indie film newbies. I hoped they didn't lose their appetite for more indie films.

Last weekend, my Ate had another memorable moviegoing experience. She had a ball and proudly told me that she sang along to the Apo songs featured in the charming musical, I Do Bidoo Bidoo, directed and scripted by Martinez. Again, she forked out some dough for a cinema ticket because of my recommendation.

Why the films of Martinez? First reason is his films easily get theater playdates. Second reason is the freshness of film concepts and approaches despite the ubiquitous presence of Eugene Domingo. Third reason is those films are truly entertaining and can be enjoyed by casual viewers and cineastes alike.

Viewing I Do Bidoo Bidoo is akin to listening to any of the two Apo tribute albums. There are high moments that are spread out unevenly. There are also the expected fillers and downers. 

After the third (or fourth?) song was featured in the film, I was raving over the cleverness of the concept. It was amazing hearing the Apo songs push forward the narrative. Syotang Pa-Class is a perfect introduction to the world of the high-maintenance girlfriend, Tracy Fuentebella. The differences in class status will lead to the break-up of the young couple. An angry and angsty Rock Polotan instigated a flash mob and shaked off his love and employment problems to the tune of Blue Jeans

I loved the flash mob choreography and the basketball court segment. The latter is quite impressive because an errant bouncing ball can ruin the whole sequence. The dancers must have practiced a lot.

Everyone persevered in making the film a success. Eugene Domingo did several passable dancing and singing sequences. She, however, brought the house down with her strip tease tango with Ogie Alcasid. I will have a hard time listening to Di Na Natuto again without bursting into a wide grin. In a movie with several nice surprises, that scene was a nightmarish, wickedly-funny curve-ball. The three members of the Apo Hiking Society made a cameo appearance during the christening of Rosie's apo.

Those are nice surprises all right but then there are the downers. Tippy Dos Santos should have been given an English song to sing. She obviously struggles with Filipino songs. But then, we can forget about it and say that she is merely being true to her character. I was also hoping for a Busby Berkeley-inspired dance number but there was none. Kaleidoscopic images could have been yummy eye candy to a perky Apo song.

The biggest disappointment is the uneven quality of the film prints. I wasn't expecting an MGM/Technicolor treatment. I'm just dismayed with several blurred scenes. I know it isn't a theater problem because my elder sister also noticed some hazy parts in another cinema. 

What's next on my elder sister's movie list? I've persuaded her to check out the excellent film Bwakaw. Obviously, she is not yet ready for a Brillante Mendoza movie. But, if she asks for more, then I'll probably recommend Captive if it turns out to be good. If not, then there are other good films to watch this week...

There's Give Up Tomorrow at UP Cine Adarna; Bakal Boys and Kano at Shangri-La; and yes, I Do Bidoo Bidoo... The latter is worth watching again and again. 

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