Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Badjao (1957)

Matatanaw natin ang mga naglalakihang mga vinta na animo'y mga ibon na sumasalipadpad sa malawak na karagatan. Ang mga Badjao ay isang grupo ng mga tao na naninirahan sa kayamanan ng dagat gamit ang kaalamang nagpasalin-salin sa kanilang mga ninuno. Sa unang eksena, isang ritwal ng diumano'y pagtanggap sa lipi ng mga Badjao, ang pagtapon ng bagong panganak sa malamin na dagat at muling pag-ahon ng mga nakatatandang mga lalaki sa sanggol. Magkaibang-magkaiba ang kostumbre ng dalawang tribung kaagtas sa buhay. Ang mga Tausog ay hambog, tila sila na ang nakaaangat sa mga Badjao, sapagkat sila ay may paniniwala at tapang. Masusing paglalahad ng mga bagay na ito ang ipinamalas ni Lamberto V. Avellana, direktor ng pelikula. Mga kaugaliang bilang manunuod ay tunay na nakamamangha. Si Tony Santos at ang kagandahang natural ni Rosa Rosal ang magdadala sa mga manunuod sa makulay at puno ng sakit na magsing-irog na namamalagi sa magkaibang mundo.

Hassan (Tony Santos), son of a Badjao chief, falls in love with Bala Amai (Red Cross Philippines matriarch, Rosa Rosal), niece of a Tausog datu (Jose de Cardova).
Hassan, proves his worth to Bala Amai's uncle by leaving his heritage behind to follow his heart. A treacherous uncle, then conspires to hold Hassan by the neck by forcing him to work for him diving for pearls for his own greedy end. Feeling violated, they both leave the confines of the Tausogs and set sail to return to Hassan's people together with his wife.

A sea of mystecism abound in the film, get enthralled by the customs. Most notable are the wedding ritual, the traditional dance, we see women with long metallic nails wave about as they dance together with the captivating gongs, and the sets used ih the Tausog tribe, a wide array of cloths and textures will surely excite. Just imagine how this might have been in color; The night scenes of the Badjao's vintas illuminated by small lamps. Even a run around in the thick of the jungle turns symbolic as Bala Amai resists Hassan's dominance. She eventually gives in and the sound of gongs echo louder and louder. Also, Jiriki (Vic Silayan), the Tausog datu's right hand, has a embroilling battle scene with Hassan.

So much is to be said about the film, the fact that the story rings true to some aspect of our lives, as portrayed by the two tribes, we are a constant threat to each others existence. The prejudices and hate we harbor inside, even a good natured character, like Rosal's Bala Amai is not spared to this human weakness. Even her uncle, which she revere and loves turn his back just to spite her. Badjao truly captivates and holds the viewer in a trace like state.

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