Thursday, July 22, 2010

Two Funerals (2010, Gil Portes)

A cross between Colorum and Ded Na Si Lolo, this hilarious film is a welcome return to form for director Gil Portes. According to the acclaimed creator of Mulanay, Saranggola, and Mga Munting Tinig, he came across the subject for the film in a tabloid. He read about the case of a corpse that was delivered to the wrong set of surviving family members. This germ of an idea haunted him for years. He peddled his story to lots of producers but none will touch it.

SineDirek could have been a perfect venue for Portes’ project but it failed to materialize this year. It is a good thing that Cinemalaya expanded its grant program by coming up with the Directors’ Showcase competition. Portes and four other veteran directors were able to get sizable budgets for their dream projects.

Two Funerals was a crowd-favorite during the festival. There was boisterous laughter from the audience all throughout the movie. Jeffrey Quizon is a delight to watch as a married man battling his personal demons. Mon Confiado and Benjie Felipe are an odd couple cooking up ways to earn money during the wake. Confiado’s theory about the lady in the coffin is a certified hoot.

Tessie Tomas shines again in a Cinemalaya film. For the third straight year, her marked portrayals give luster to the films. She earned acting nominations for her portrayal as a friend of a dying cancer patient in 100. She was nominated and won for her role as a pawnshop owner in Sanglaan. This year, she unravels her comedic timing and dramatic skills in her role as a mother determined to get hold of the corpse of her daughter. Her breakdown scene at the wake in Matnog, Sorsogon was a difficult one to do but she pulled it off.

The award-winning script by Enrique Ramos was obviously well thought of. I love the juxtaposition of the holy and the irreverent, the spiritual and the mundane. Almost all punch lines hit their mark. There was an excess of gay-themed jokes, but why carp? The only glitch I can see with the script is the politician campaigning during Good Friday.

Portes expressed gladness over the horde of awards received by his film. It even won the Audience Choice award in the Directors’ Showcase category. I came to appreciate the cinematography only after viewing the film projected beautifully in the Teatro Huseng Batute of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. The night scenes at the bridge were wonderful. During the early days of the Cinemalaya 2010 festival, all the films I’ve seen at the Little Theater suffered from poor projection. The organizers remedied this problem by moving the projection system closer to the screen.

Two Funerals is an entertaining, fun-filled film. But, if you’re going to watch it at Cine Adarna in UP Diliman, then be warned that the film may literally end up as dark comedy. I hope the UP Cineastes’ Studio and co-organizers utilize a better projection system. Straining your eyes to check out the action at dark, projected images is no laughing matter. The audience deserves a better moviehouse viewing experience.

UPDATED (July 24):
Coincidence? Fast response?
Anyway, I want to thank the UP Cineastes' Studio and co-organizers for vastly improving the projection of a film at Cine Adarna. I had a great time yesterday during the Sampaguita screening.

Catch Cinemalaya 6 goes to UP next week. The best of the competition entries is still to be screened. The must-see film is Mark Meily's Donor. Two Funerals, Ang Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio, Halaw, and Shorts B program are also well worth seeing.


  1. i initally had a similar reaction to the mayor campaigning, but i realized it was already black saturday already and no longer good friday, meaning campaign is allowed

  2. The politician I was referring to was the one portrayed by Amay Bisaya. He was shown handing out campaign leaflets in the streets on Good Friday.

    I think I need a second look at your film Vox Populi. My blog colleague Northern Portrait loved your film, which I find to be just okay. I still think your best film is the well-directed and well-acted Sa North Diversion Road. That movie is among the best works to have come out from the Cinema One competitions.