Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Boses (2008, Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil)

Boses, produced with some help from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, deals with the issues of child abuse and the rehabilitation of abused kids. It also highlights the use of music therapy to heal the emotional wounds of battered children.

Director Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil deftly blends melodramatic scenes with tense, exciting moments such as the initial meeting of the two main protagonists and the chase scene near the end. Add the powerful pull of the music playing scenes and the film ends up an engrossing and touching story of redemption.

I loved the idea of a frail, mute boy turning an angry, reclusive man into a caring person. Violinists attach a device called mute to the violin in order to mellow down the volume when they practice. In this film, the mute Onyok (Julian Duque) softens the choleric music of Ariel (Coke Bolipata). Ariel becomes more caring and loving. He surprises his sister by giving her a buss on the cheek.

On the other hand, Ariel helps Onyok to regain his ‘voice.’ The young boy is finally able to communicate and reach out to other people through his violin. His music nurtures the seed of love in the hearts of people he meets. Indeed, music is the food of love.

The two leads were surprisingly good. Julian Duque is a real child prodigy and it was a pleasure to see him play and act well. Coke Bolipata gave a fairly good performance. Indie regulars, Cherry Pie Picache and Ricky Davao, provide ample support to the acting tyros.

Boses was a last-minute addition to the list of Cinemalaya finalists. It became one of the better films of the Cinemalaya 2008 class. The next Cinemalaya edition is just around the corner, but the film has not been shown in commercial theaters. The highly-acclaimed movie deserves a full theatrical release.

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