Thursday, October 10, 2013

Badil (Chito Roño, Sineng Pambansa 2013)

Chito Roño as of late has been busy churning out horror films. So when I read that his Sineng Pambansa project was titled Badil, I thought it was another chiller. I have no idea what the title means but it seems like a name for a monster.

There is monstrosity alright in this spectacular film but not in the supernatural or paranormal sense. There is horror in there, too. But this time it is political in nature.

Badil is Chito Roño's update on political realities he expertly touched on in the films Dekada 70 and Eskapo. While the latter two films are set during the Martial Law regime of President Ferdinand Marcos, Badil is set in contemporary times in an unnamed island.

Upon hearing the word 'dynamite' from a character onboard a boat, I thought the issue is dynamite fishing. However, the main film topic is more tragic and devastating than that. Badil brilliantly shows how love for money subverts elections in the country. Vote buying is so entrenched in a fishing community that almost every resident there is on the take. Registered voters sell their souls to the highest bidder.

Money is a major reason why candidates win in elections. It is also money that keep them firmly in their positions. In Badil, the minions of a challenger attempt to dislodge a moneyed local official by fortifying their stronghold. They keep track of strangers who may convince residents to turn around. The election race is so tight that a mere family of turncoats can be the 'dynamite' that can wreck havoc on the challenger's dream of winning.

Another local term used by the residents is 'ink stain.' Originally referring to the ink used by menacing cephalopods, it is used to describe voters who have had their fingernails stained by indelible ink. Supporters of the seated official realize that if they cannot convince the clannish residents to vote for their bet, they can at least coerce registered voters not to exercise their right of suffrage with a generous amount of bribe. Registered voters can always say that they did not vote for the opposition.

Also keeping with fishing parlance, the film features a case of 'sleeping with the fishes.' Another one has been caught up in the tentacles of the Leviathan called election violence. The supporters of the challenger cannot match the moolah of the local official. Hence, they resort to desperate measures by bringing in political assassins.

Why do politicians and candidates kill for public positions?

According to a Philippine Daily Inquirer article, the Philippine National Police recorded 177-election related incidents from January this year to September 22. From these incidents, 96 candidates and officials have died.

How do candidates recoup the tremendous amount of money that they have spent during campaign period?

Comelec is pursuing cases of vote-buying and excess advertising spending by politicians.

The likely answer to those questions is in the news. 

Pork barrel. President Benigno Aquino III refuses to heed his bosses' clamor for the abolition of legislators' pork barrel. Why? Because he doesn't want the legislators to target his own pork barrel. There goes the so-called checks and balance in our government. There goes the taxpayers' money.

Sineng Pambansa 2013 sked at Shang Cineplex

Top picks:

Worth your while:

  • Sonata
    • admired the nods to Hollywood classic films and actors such as Greta Garbo
  • Ang Tag-araw ni Twinkle 
    • succumbed to the poetry and beauty of spoken Tagalog 
    • loved the performances by Ellen Adarna and Arnold Reyes
  • Ano ang Kulay ng mga Nakalimutang Pangarap?  
    • fascinating end-frame 
    • the backstory, though, could have been better 
    • I still prefer Brillante Mendoza's Lola over this film

Guilty pleasure:

Bahay ng Lagim


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