Thursday, July 23, 2009

Last Supper No. 3 (2009)


Veronica Velasco's first solo effort in the director's chair after successfully building a tandem with Pablo Biglang-Awa Jr. in films such as Inang Yaya (Mother Nanny, 2006) and Maling Akala (2007). The film chronicles Assistant Production Designer Wilson Nanawa's (Joey Paras) journey through the Philippines so-called judicial system and government trappings. His story (based on fact, from writer Winston Acuyong's personal experience, which isn't that hard to believe, we've all been through his experience one way or another, dealing with the government) innocently enough, begins as he scouts for the perfect "Last Supper" to be used in a corned beef commercial. He narrows his search and finally finds the perfect one, fit in its dimension and look. He unfortunately loses "Last Supper No. 3" a raggedy old rug which means the world to its owner, since it was a gift from Saudi. Saudi of all places, imagine that. Wilson tries to plead with its owner Gareth (Jojit Lorenzo) and Aling Suming (Beverly Salviejo), to no avail. As it ensued into a fist fight, this is when Wilson's true calvary begins. He is charged with estafa and serious physical injury along with his assistant, Andoy (JM de Guzman).

His plight through the hoopla and miles of red tape, is nothing out of the ordinary but what makes it unnerving is its closeness to home. Because we've all been there. Maricel Soriano's
cameo appearance as a clerk, says mounts about the corrupt system that has taken hold of her. Her character is someone whose gotten used to the system, She acts as if its second nature to accept bribe and nonchalently laugh on things that any civil person would cringe. I'd be more than happy to share my experiences with SSS, but fears of withholding my benefits in the future (in the form of salary loan or pension) prevents me to. But you get the picture, alleviating red tape would do wonders in any government agency, and nasty faced meanies that calls themselves civil servants.

Wilson's lawyer (Ness Roque
), is not grounded to the realities of the world around her either. She thinks of herself someone whose above and atop a pedestal, whose mindset revolves around her text book and academic realities. She and all of her post graduate trimmings just added to poor Wilson's sufferings, as she charges thousands and thousands of pesos in appearance fee even without lifting a pinky nor uttering a single word, thinking that her client is a cash cow.

Wilson Nanawa is unapologetic in his queerness and his outgoing approach serves a good deal when he interacts with people, this is exemplified as he uses his charm to work wonders in an FX taxi, when he connives with a good looking passenger to go along with his skit, to fool his boss on the phone or when he tries asks politely the jeepney driver to stop, to no avail until he uses his manly voice. There are moments when we feel his frustration as days turns to months and months turns to years. And the never ending court battle ensues and milks his cash flow to the last centavo. If it was not for Joey Paras'
openness the film could have dropped flat on the ground, it is hard to imagine someone else doing the part. He is a common man, trying his very best to keep his sanity, his hard walk to the top of a precinct best describes this as a somber song of suffering plays as he drags himself up the stairs.

Debraliz who portrays Wilson's aunt could have been given more screen time. She is someone that i look forward to seeing but was given so little presence. The interaction between the people and the government is a commendable effort which is hardly portrayed in its entirety on film. The film says so much about the deterioration between our trust as a people and the government that has turned itself as a living breathing entity. As i see it, is no longer for the people and by the people. This is one story cloaked in dark comedy.

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