Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Noy (2010, Dondon Santos)

That was a long, long dry spell of good new films. It is already the month of June but I can only cite less than a handful of notable feature-length films such as Cesar Apolinario’s Puntod, Raul Jorolan’s The Red Shoes, and Chris Martinez’s Here Comes the Bride. The El Niño phenomenon will soon give way to a deluge of hopefully great entries from upcoming local film festivals. The 6th edition of Cinemalaya is just around the corner.

Dondon Santos’ film is a refreshing change from formulaic love stories and sleazy sex films. The film Noy does not deal with the life of Senator Noynoy Aquino. The titular character Noy (Coco Martin) is a street-smart guy who has nabbed a job at a television station by using fake school records. He makes use of this opportunity by crafting a report on the presidential campaign of his namesake Noynoy Aquino. Lacking the knowledge and skills of an educated journalist, Noy comes up with a pedestrian set of footages. His errors and misadventures make up the bulk of humorous scenes in the film. Determined to give heart to his report, Noy decides to focus on the problems of urban poor people like him and how Senator Aquino intends to address them.

President-elect Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III was quoted in press releases as being impressed with the acting of Coco Martin and the guerrilla filmmaking tactics. He seems to be happy with the film which several viewers have lambasted for showing him mostly in good light. Memorable candid moments include Aquino horsing around with Baby James and an obviously-elated Senator enjoying his recording of a rap spiel for an ad.

I admire the decision of the director to include campaign footages showing Aquino laying out his plans. In a campaign sortie, Aquino promised to provide PhilHealth coverage to all Filipinos within 3 years. If Aquino fails to deliver on these campaign promises, then this film will haunt him big-time.

The film, with a script by Shugo Praico, brings up the issue of Hacienda Luisita and the luck of being a child of parent-heroes. I can no longer recall the scene but I think the issue of Kamaganak Inc. was also subtly tackled.

The movie Noy is not a great film although believers of Aquino will undoubtedly adore it while non-fans may find it worthwhile for various reasons. It combines the gritty realism of a Brillante Mendoza film, the acidic wit of Francis Xavier Pasion's Jay and images of a compelling TV documentary. However, the didactic ending mars the film. Noy remarked in the early part of the film "Ako lang ang hindi tunay." Yes, he is a fake and also his postmortem message. It falls flat and sounds false.

After viewing a film that deals with duplicity and falsehoods, viewers will probably keep an eye on the actions of President-elect Benigno Aquino III. Will he be true to his campaign promises or will he be unmask as a pretender?

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