Philippine Film Review: 100

100, written and directed by Chris Martinez, was the only movie that I got to watch during the Cinemalya 2008 film festival. I watched primarily because my best friend Ryan Eigenmann and good friends Mylene Dizon and TJ Trinidad were in the movie. I attended the gala night of 100, which was shown at the CCP Main Theater. First, I bought a P100 ticket since Ryan EIgenmann was running late, and managed getting a seat at the bleachers. When Ryan arrived and called me, I met him at the lobby, and we transferred to the reserved seats they had for him.

I had only seen a bit of the beginning sequence, and skipped about 5 minutes before resuming the movie, which was the scene where Mylene is finishing up her last day of work. Anyway, of course, we finished the movie.

To quote 100’s film synopsis from what I guess would be the PR pack, it says: “100 chronicles the last 3 months of a cancer-stricken woman who has a list of things to do before she dies. 100 stars Mylene Dizon, Eugene Domingo, Tessie Tomas, Simon Ibarra, Ryan Eigenmann and TJ Trinidad.”

Writer/Director Chris Martinez, sums it up as: “100 is a celebration of the senses and what life has to offer.”

Now, throughout the movie, we see Mylene Dizon‘s character putting up some post-its on her dresser as a list of things to do before she dies – dealing with the closure of her life, settling things, and living a fulfilled life to do all the things she’s ever wanted. At first, the post-it strategy in the movie works well, but then it does get tiresome. There are post-its that say Kare-Kare, Crispy Pata, Ben & Jerry’s, Haagen Dasz, Leche Flan and we see Mylene go through a seemingly lengthy scene chowing away at these foods in the most gluttonous manner. Well, the scenes were entertaining. It was enjoyable watching Mylene pig-out! But then, the scene cuts back to the post-its of these food items and are peeled away from the dresser one by one, signifying its accomplishment. Itemizing the food gets rather tiresome. It could’ve been improved to be put on one post-it that says: “EAT MY FAVORITE FOOD!”

In another scene where Mylene’s character was turning over all office documents and having her former secretary prepare a list of stuff for her funeral (iPod, pictures, labels, whom to call, casket), it’s seems odd that there has to be a specific post-it for stuff like casket, iPod, etc. Once again, all of that could’ve been summed up in one post-it, saying something like “FINALIZE FUNERAL PREPARATIONS”

The title of 100 is vague to begin with, and somehow it makes you enter the movie with the suggestion of Frank Miller’s 300 in the back of your head. But though the course of the movie you get to see that 100 means a list of 100 things to do before death. But like I said earlier, the tool of using the post-it was used throughout the movie so many times. After each accomplishment or task, we revert back to the post-it and see it taken down and then look again to a new post-it with a new task to announce the upcoming scene of the movie. It works well at first, but then it becomes a chapterizing of sequences, which doesn’t leave much to the audience imagination, such as “sunset at the beach, skinny-dipping” – things like that. There’s even a post-it that sayas “Picture with Brad Pitt” and the accomplishment of the task was a photograph taken with Brad Pitt’s true-to-life wax model at some wax museum in Hong Kong. A bit witty, but in a list of 100 things to do before death, would a picture with a wax model really be a defining moment, or same with the picture with Mickey Mouse or a trip to the HK night market? or ride a cable car? The entire 20 or so things to do in Hong Kong could’ve been summarized in one post-it: “HONG KONG TRIP WITH MY BEST FRIEND” – without having to rub it into the audience’s faces that picture with Brad Pitt actually had its own post-it.

At the end of the movie, I’m left to thinking the title could’ve been 100 POST-ITS. Or at best 100 could’ve been reduced to 15 had the words been carefully chosen and probably given some good metaphor and poetry into them.

I also have a knack of finding mistakes on certain scenes, and Ryan’s girlfriend Cathy Bordalba and myself noticed that during a conversation between Ryan’s character and Mylene’s character during a rainy night inside her CRV, there was rain on the driver’s side, but it didn’t quite reach the passenger side as Ryan was exiting. Fake rain, and it wasn’t even enough to cover the car. So, on one part of the frame, you see heavy rain, and on one side there weren’t even raindrops pattering on the sidewalk. The editor, at least, should’ve noticed.

Well, I didn’t get to see the other movies that were featured in the 2008 Cinemalaya, and I was being urged by several film-goers to watch Jay. Unfortunately, I never found the time. I heard that it was “THE best movie” by far among the 10 finalists of Cinemalya 2008. I really didn’t give myself the opportunity to find out.

Nevertheless, the awards were released at the end of the Cinemalaya Film Festival, and the breakdown of the awards for the 2008 Cinemalaya goes something like: Best Full-Length Feature – Jay by Francis Xavier Pasion, Best Actor Baron Geisler for Jay, Best Editing Kate Serraon, Chuck Gutierrez and Francis Pasion for Jay, Special Jury Prize Brutus by Tara Illenberger, Best Supporting Actor Yul Servo for Brutus, Best Original Score Joey Ayala for Brutus, Best Cinematography was tied between Jay Abello for Brutus and Dan Villegas for Huling Pasada, Best Sound Toto Sorioso and Lito Cruz for Ranchero, Best Production Design Cristina Honrado for Baby Angelo.

100 of Chris Martinez won 5 awards: Best Direction and Best Screenplay Chris Martinez, Best Actress Mylene Dizon, Best Supporting Actress Eugene Domingo and the Audience Choice Award.

Despite my earlier complaints, I still do feel that 100 was a good movie. The characters were played really well. Wala akong masabi: MAGALING SI MYLENE DIZON! And it was amazing that they had shot at some awesome locations, such as the Lady of Manaoag Church and Quiapo Church. Interesting sceneries there, and the showcasing of how the FIlipino culture (at least, in our Lady of Manaoag Church and Quiapo) have all sorts of “cures” for the hopeless and despaired.

It was also quite interesting going through the motions of the lengths people go through in order to try and battle their sicknesses – to try everything from general medicine practice to other methods like herbal treatments, pilgrimages to churches, faith healers and what-have-you to preserve life.

Of course, the themes and scenes on the living of life, the light moments, the laughter, the tears – it was a moving movie (i’ve always wanted to use that play on words). A particular scene that leaves a lasting impression is the skinny-dipping scene of the film’s four ladies, which include the character of Mylene Dizon, Eugene Domingo, Tessie Tomas and the butch who played Tessie Tomas’ driver!!! That was probably why it won the Audience Choice Award.

That, and the marijuana scene at some place where Mylene comes out of a hot-boxed smoke-filled room. Well, naturally, a pothead like me would remember.

Of course, I also enjoyed Ryan Eigenmann’s character – and without being biased since he’s my good friend – he really did well. At first, I was under the impression that he was playing a gay role, but then he turned out being a … Well, I shouldn’t give it out in case you haven’t seen it. Everything else, but that. But yeah – he did well. I remember telling him in the middle of the movie, “Kapal ng mukha mo!” but only in jest. Ryan Eigenmann did well.

I also enjoyed Timmy Eigenmann‘s (or Sid Lucero’s) cameo. I don’t mind coming out in movies and having cameos like that.

Anyway – please do share information on the Philippines Fun Wall if there will be future screenings of 100 and the other film finalists of Cinemalaya 2008, especially Jay and Brutus.

One Response to “Philippine Film Review: 100”

  1. Congrats sa movie ni Francis Pasion… kasama po ang Jay sa Green Chilies Audience Award 2009

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