BAFICI COVERAGE – The Woman in the Septic Tank (Rivera)

for desistfilm: Mónica Delgado

Festival films have practically become almost a genre of their own. And it is exactly within the tracking of these commonalities that debutant filmmaker Marlon N. Rivera realizes this comedy about a producer, a director and an assistant that seek to make “the independent film”, a work to become a triumph in American and European festivals, exploiting the Philippine “porno-misery” (maybe a parody of filmmakers such as Brillante Mendoza, for example) as an anchor of personal cinema from the periphery.

Requisites for making a film to be claimed by European juries: Low Budget, minimal expressive resources (“the more fixated shots, the better”, says a character), renowned actors that accept the role that takes them out of their routine, and festival-friendly ready-made arguments. And working with this precept, Philippine filmmaker Marlon N. Rivera proposes four ways to make an independent film: From the producer’s point of view (a film of static shots and no dialogue, that captures a woman trying to sell one of her children on a Manila marginal barrio), from the director’s point of view (handheld camera, abrupt and realistic movements, poverty in its more raw form), and from the assistant’s point of view (a grotesque musical, which turns into a tragic TV comedy). Four perspectives of independent cinema that build an ironic essay of the Philippine crisis, and the film festival formulas, where creativity gets submitted to the requirements of this new system of exhibition.

‘The woman in the septic tank’ is a fun film, filled with fortunate clichés, which attempt to dissemble this new machinery of personal prominence through cinema, something that is the opposite of cinephilia, or true passion for film, and that which becomes in an innocuous dream increasingly more reachable: an Oscar award.

Director: Marlon Rivera
Producers: Madonna Tarrayo, Grace Quisias
Screenwriter:  Chris Martinez
Cinematography: Larry Manda
Cast: Eugene Domingo, JM De Guzman, Kean Cipriano, Cai Cortez, Jonathan Tadioan, Cherry Pie Picache, Mercedes Cabral, Lani Tapia, Sonny Bautista
88 mins


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