Friday, October 03, 2014

Hari Ng Tondo (Carlos Siguion-Reyna, Cinemalaya 2014)

Hari Ng Tondo is among a trio of popular Cinemalaya films, including Hustisya and The Janitor, which probed and dealt with the dirt and grime of the crime-infested city of Manila.

An important dramatic scene shows a dejected grandfather, Ricardo Vilena (Robert Arevalo), buckling down from the weight of his grief. He cannot believe the genial Tondo district he grew up in has turned into a grimy, violence-laden area. He stands up and faces the problems head on.

Vilena joins hands with neighbors to clean their surroundings. The remaining problem, violence, is not something he and his toughened grandchildren and neighbors cannot handle at all. They huddle together and brace up for hooligans and trouble-makers.

Director Carlos Siguion-Reyna grew up in Tondo and must have shared the sentiments of Vilena about the faded luster of Manila and broken promises of local leaders. His comeback film, Hari Ng Tondo, chastises past local kings, Dirty Hari and others, for the sorry state of the capital. The film challenges current Hari ng Tondo (Erap Estrada) to live up to the excellent leadership of Arsenio Lacson. The filmmakers seem hopeful in Estrada's capability to turn things around.

The film suggests that Manila is worth living in despite the obvious blight, horrendous traffic, and monstrous floods. A couple of rich kids ditched their cozy, comfy homes to live in with their grandfather, Ricardo Vilena, in the notorious Tondo district. They see how garbage bins are raided for recyclable food. They scamper away from fights sprouting like mushrooms in nearly every street corner. But, amidst all the poverty and gang riots they learn about love and community bonding. 

Soulful music, emanating from the heart of the compound, cleanses and soothes the hearts of everyone who hears it. A bit of that music, loads of courageous art, and lots of caring hearts will play a big role in restoring the grandeur and allure of Manila.

No comments:

Post a Comment