Films centered on an ensemble cast, instead of just one or two main
characters, is hard to pull off. It demands time to develop each character and
make each of them mutually relevant. Each cast member must have individual
stories to tell, that when combined together form an encompassing tale. In the 2009 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, Sanglaan gived its own take on Pinoy ensemble films.
THE PLOT. People in need of money go to pawnshops to trade in their jewelry
and other prized possessions, together with the memories that come along with
it. They are right in thinking that sentimental value cannot feed hungry
mouths, but it can be very hard to let go of things you have treasured for so
long. Sanglaan is about letting go
and the set of characters whose lives revolve around a dying pawnshop.
Tessie Tomas is the owner of the outmoded establishment who faces the repercussions of the failing economy. Jess Evardone plays the security guard who has to resort to unconventional methods of raising money to pay for the hospitalization of his wife (played by Flor Salanga). And then there's Ina Feleo, the socially awkward jewelry appraiser, who is hopelessly enamored with her high school crush (played by Joem Bascon).
We all know how great a performer Tessie Tomas is. However, she is laregly underutilized in the film. She wasn't able to display her full range and acting chops.
Meanwhile, the film's production values are undeniably better compared to its contemporaries. Scenes are strikingly lensed, albeit a bit too simply. However, the film falters on pushing the right emotional buttons. The talent is there, both on-cam and behind the scenes. But with an insipid screenplay, Sanglaan feels remotely ordinary.
Regular tickets to Cinemalaya are priced at P100 while students can buy tickets for only P50. A day pass costs P300 (good for 5 screenings per day) while a festival pass costs P1000 (can be used for all screenings).
For more information, please call the CCP Box Office at 832-3704 or
832-1125 local 1409. Tickets are also available at all Ticketworld
outlets and National bookstores at Tel No. 891-9999.
Fidel Antonio Medel is a cum laude graduate of the University of Santo Tomas and a member of the Thomasian Writers Guild, the literary circle of UST. He also served as the editor-in-chief of the college paper.