The internationally-acclaimed director and Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Futuristic Fiction awardee, Alvin Yapan, has once again committed himself to bringing another meaningful film to the Filipino movie audience, through the advocacy film, EDSA. Director Alvin Yapan, known for his noteworthy contributions in the Philippine independent film industry, with movies such as Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa and Debosyon, has always been reliable when it comes to conveying the Filipino art, culture and tradition through his films - may it be the Filipino ways of the past or the present.
In celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution, Director Alvin Yapan and film producer Madonna Sanchez, have courageously taken the chance of shooting a film in the country's busiest road, where else, EDSA. This is with the intention of raising awareness to majority of the Filipinos on the daily hustle and bustle that the community encounters in this notorious national road. Were there improvements since the past revolution?
In this film, EDSA becomes a microcosm for the cultural and national condition we are in as Filipinos. EDSA traffic becomes a metaphor for the delayed progress we are all frustrated with. Each and every day, we are all raring to go to work and be useful to our country. But the cultural and national infrastructure prevent us from maximizing our potential. Instead of laying blame, this film would like to explore the many intersections of public and private interests that are being played out on a daily basis along EDSA. This film would like to hope that in bearing these interests a dialogue, at the very least a self-examination, could start among the audience.
Three stories, one day in EDSA. An opportunistic entrepreneur (Anton, played by Hayden Kho) develops a bond with a streetkid (Ben, played by John Manalo) trying to help him to get to his business meeting in Makati, after losing his cellphone to a snatcher. A teacher (Edna, played by Sue Prado) from the province haggles with a former OFW turned taxi driver (Emong, played by Allen Dizon), whether the country should follow world standards in basic education requirements. And a snatcher (Jun, played by Aljur Abrenica) trying to reform himself with the help of a nurse (Carla, played by Kris Bernal) by trying to return what he stole. Three stories all asking the same thing: what matters most, the collective or the individual gain?
The story of Anton who uses the MRT would become the story of business interests in the country. The story of Jun on the street level of EDSA is the story of survival among the lower classes. The story of Edna going to the K-12 Conference is how we teach and promote the legacy of the EDSA 1986 Revolution among the youth. The story of Anton and Jun are the material, day to day stories of EDSA. The story of Edna is the story of images and ideas we spin around EDSA.
The entire film is treated with a light hand. No heavy-handed moralism here. The finale of the film is a hyperbolic rendition of the mentality we would always observe among Filipinos, among employer and employee relations, traditional and modern clashes, interactions between ordinary citizens and criminal elements, mentor and mentee relations. Just when things are about to change, we drag ourselves down again. Is there no way of changing this cultural trait and individualistic attitude?
The film's finale will make all the characters question their values as fellow Filipinos sharing the same road of progress. Will they abandon the legacy of 1986 EDSA Revolution just to further individual interests, or will they once again unite as a people in their fight towards a common goal? Because this time, there is no longer a singular dictator in Marcos to oust. This time, corruption has already become internalized and inculturated in each and every Filipino. The film dares to to ask what will win: the legacy of unity or the legacy of greed?
A little more than an hour, the film is so fun to watch, especially with a great ensemble of good actors. Aljur Abrenica's improvement in acting is quite visible in this film - no wonder he's already lined up for lots of indie films recently - he still has HERMANO PULE, MABALASIK and Sinag Maynila entry, EXPRESSWAY.
|Aljur is lined up for more indie films - Mabalasik, Hermano Puli and Expressway|
Aside from Aljur Abrenica, Kris Bernal, Allen Dizon, Hayden Kho, John Manalo, and Sue Prado, also in the cast are Joem Bascon, Lance Raymundo, Simon Ibarra, Upeng Fernandez and Mara Lopez. The film, as of press time, won't be released in cinemas yet, but will be distributed to the different schools nationwide, and is open for block screening.