Friday, September 20, 2013

ANG KUWENTO NI MABUTI: Simply So Good

September 20, 2013




This is practically the only film in the ongoing CineFilipino Film Festival that has any advanced publicity.  This is also the only entry with a bonafide superstar headlining it, no less than Ms. Nora Aunor herself. Its first screening at the Gateway Mall was sold out, a testament to the drawing power for Ms. Nora.  I will not be surprised if this will be the top box office hit of this one-week festival.  The CineFilipino Film Fest only runs at Gateway, Lucky Chinatown, Resorts World and Shangri-la Mall cinemas.

"Ang Kuwento ni Mabuti" is a simple film about simple folk who live in a remote hilly area of Nueva Vizcaya. Mabuti is a folk healer known for her cheerfulness, friendliness and kindness.  She lives with her Mother and two adult children, Ompong and Lucia.  Ompong has one daughter, indulgently named Kate Winslet.  Lucia is very unlucky in her relationships, having three daughters (Lenlen, Angge and Mimay) with three different men.  

Mabuti needed to mortgage their land when Ompong was going abroad to work.  When they receive a letter for her to pay interest on their loan, she makes a difficult trip into the city to settle.  On her way back to their home, a stranger on the bus entrusts a bag to her and runs off. Will the contents of the bag change the life of good Mabuti?

This is again another triumph for Ms. Nora Aunor in subsuming herself into another character of the masses.  Though they are similarly poor provincial women, Nora's last role in "Thy Womb" is very distinct from this role as Mabuti.  I enjoyed that she was constantly smiling in this film.  We never really see Ms. Aunor often in a happy role.  Her eyes are really very eloquent in conveying her inner thoughts, as we know from all her classics in the past.  All those seemingly simple scenes set in the the military base, the public transportation, the realty office and the stone steps gain special poignancy because they had Nora Aunor in them.

Indie actors Arnold Reyes and Mara Lopez play Ompong and Lucia respectively, while Sue Prado plays a mysterious lady on the buys.  The rest of the other actors seem to be native Ilocano-speaking actors which lend additional realism to the scenes.  Josephina Estabillo, the actress who plays Mabuti's mother Apu Guyang, is very natural actress.  She has a heartwarming bond with Ms. Nora and the kids who play her great-grandchildren. There are also the side characters of the barangay captain and his aide Boying who provide welcome comic relief.

The dialogue of the film is entirely in Ilocano, with English subtitles.  Maybe they should also add subtitles in Filipino for the benefit of audiences who may not know how to read English.  Nora speaks it with the fluidity of a native Ilocano speaker (she is a Bicolana) like the other Ilocano supporting actors.  She really knows how to push and challenge herself with her every role.

Director Mes de Guzman (who just won Best Director at the Cinemalaya 2012 for "Diablo") has succeeded to create a charming fairy tale with modern-day characters and situations. There is a whimsical element about the interplay of harsh realities of live with fate and destiny that will make the audience smile.  As for the moral lesson of the film, the film leaves the ending open for us to determine that life message for ourselves.  7/10.


15 comments:

  1. Nora Aunor is, no doubt, Philippine cinema's finest.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The mysterious lady is played by Sue Prado.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for informing me. I edited out the wrong sentence already. So Sue Prado is mysterious bus lady, and Mara Lopez is the daughter Lucia?

      Delete
  3. Only Nora Aunor is the best!

    ReplyDelete
  4. wow....another award winning performance fr the superstar herself! she's truly gifted....a true artist indeed!

    ReplyDelete
  5. what a nice review! a must see movie esp what's happening in the philippine govt regarding pork barrel scam!

    ReplyDelete
  6. it's very heartwarming. simple story reminded me of Not One Less and The Road Home of Zhang Yi Mou. and Nora Aunor? need i say more? bravo!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Kailangan bang palaging naka smile si nora sa mabuti? Kaya di siya nanalong best actress dahil wala siyang ginawa kundi ngumiti at maglakad ng maglakad. Wala na bang ibang role na puedeng gawin si nora kundi yan? It's abt time magpakita naman siya ng ibang pag atake sa role, nakakasawa na!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ate, mag-rally ka sa Batangas.

      Delete
  8. Watch NEW PINOY MOVIE and LIVE TV here in HD CLICK HERE

    download NEW PINOY HD MOVIE application for ANDROID CLICK HERE

    download NEW PINOY HD MOVIE application for IOS apple device CLICK HERE

    LIKE US ON NEW FB PINOY HD MOVIE UPDATE

    ReplyDelete
  9. mayroon kabang gamit na gusto mong ibenta? post mona dito siguradong mabibili yan sa Anunsyo.ph

    baka may hinahanap ka na gusto mong bilin? nandito din yan sa Anunsyo.ph

    o baka gusto mo maaliw sa mga prank/funny/entertainment video at funny picture LIKE mo kami sa FB Social Video

    ReplyDelete