Thursday, August 04, 2016
Kid Kulafu (Paul Soriano, 2015)
While cable surfing, I chanced upon this Filipino film on Red channel. Kid Kulafu is Paul Soriano's worthy follow-up to his award-winning debut film Thelma. It tells the origins of the Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao.
The selection of Buboy Villar as a young Manny Pacquiao is another casting coup by Soriano and crew. Just like what Maja Salvador did in Thelma, Villar wholeheartedly embraced his role as a phenomenal teen athlete. He looked uncannily like the Blow by Blow sensation.
A notable boxing fight sequence shows Villar unleashing fast punches from the point of view (POV) of his taller opponent. Villar is staring up at the camera and his gloved hands keeps landing on the camera. If this is a 3D film, then the audience would have staggered from countless head bobs.
I love the POV shots because they show what an opponent sees when fighting Pacquiao. It looks like the whole audience is up there supporting and backing up Pacquiao. The dazzling flashes of red that appears intermittently from both sides suggest the quickness of Pacquiao's hands.
There's a reason behind the film's insistence on using Emmanuel, the real name of Pacquiao. The biblical definition of Emmanuel is 'God with us.' An important scene shows his mother Dionisia, asking the Lord to be with Emmanuel always. He is blessed to be the first and only boxer to win world championships in eight divisions.
Pacquiao has had a love-hate relationship with his townmates in General Santos City, South Cotabato. They loved him as a boxing champion but junked him in the 2007 legislative elections. Pacquiao's decision to run again for the congressional seat but for another province (Sarangani) is somewhat similar to an incident shown in the film.
The young and raw pugilist is disheartened from being cut from the General Santos City boxing team. As fast as his boxing jab, he switches allegiance to the Digos boxing team. He helps his new team win the regional championship at the expense of his original team.
Kid Kulafu does a decent job of showing the circumstances of Pacquiao's rise to boxing glory. The film also shows the fickle-mindedness of Pacquiao. Now, it will no longer surprise me if Pacquiao, despite his campaign pronouncements, decides once more to don boxing gloves for a fight this year.