REVIEW: Thy Womb   6 comments

Thy Womb

The Metro Manila Film Festival kicks off today, and there’s no better way than to start the reviews by writing one for arguably the most quality film of the bunch. Brillante Mendoza’s Venice entry Thy Womb was in the shortlist months before but actually did not make the final list. However, as fate would have it, one movie backed out paving the way for its inclusion in the final eight.

Thy Womb takes us all the way to Tawi Tawi in Mindanao. There, we meet Shaleha (Aunor) a Badjao midwife who ironically can’t provide her own offspring to her husband Bangas-an (Roco). This led the couple to explore endless options in order for Shaleha to give what she knows her husband wanted from the start.

With such an interesting premise, director Mendoza grabbed every possible chance in order to let the story speak for itself. Most of the time, we are following Shaleha and Bangas-an’s daily routines. It is with this straightforwardness that the story let the audience be a part not only of their culture, but with the life of the couple. I’ve always like how the breathtaking Tawi Tawi was depicted; in its own, it can be considered as a character in the film. Think of Manhattan in Manhattan or New York in Sex and the City series (lousy comparison, but I do hope you get the point), where in the location itself has a lot of stories to share to its viewers. And Mendoza introduces Tawi Tawi to us by giving us bits and pieces of their colorful traditions and culture.

I think the biggest con that the movie had was during the near end of the movie, when a turning point was revealed. I don’t feel that it was established well enough to elicit the intended impact that the writer aimed. While it is, indeed, a game changer, it felt a bit premature given the lack of actual build up. With that said, I like the insertion of small ironies here and there regarding the couple’s life experiences.

Time and again, it is a common fact that Nora Aunor is one of the best talents that ever graced Philippine cinema. And Thy Womb is another testament of that. I’d even dare say that at times, she elevates the material with her performance. Her poignant turn as Shaleha  is probably one of my favorites for the year. La Aunor’s stare can paint a thousand emotions without even battling a single word. Bembol Roco was an apt counterpart to Aunor’s Shaleha. Roco is the yin to Aunor’s yang. Both Lovi Poe and Mercedes Cabral have shorter screentimes and weren’t given that much to do, but their presence were definitely felt.

Thy Womb, above anything else, is a journey. A raw and poignant journey that leads its viewers not only to the bluest of the seas and the farthest of the islands, but to the lives of Shaleha and Bangas-an. And it is a journey that is definitely worth seeing.

Grade: 4/5

Here are the reviews of the other Metro Manila Film Festival 2012 entries:

El Presidente
One More Try
Shake, Rattle, and Roll 14: The Invasion
Si Agimat, si Enteng, at si Ako
Sisterakas
Sosy Problems
The Strangers

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

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6 responses to “REVIEW: Thy Womb

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  1. Too bad, the scripwriter (Henry Burgos) missed it. Otherwise, “Thy Womb” can very well be one of the best Filipino films of all time.

  2. Good review. I still have to see the film though, to concur on your perspective. Thanks for appreciating the brilliance of the Superstar.

  3. The script and the execution of it was only meant for thinking and discriminating audience. The silence in the first part of the movie before the turning point is like the silence before the storm. It was perfect!

  4. Bravo! Isang maipagmamalaking pelikulang Pilipino. Destined to be a classic film again of Ms. Nora Aunor!

  5. Too bad this film has done so poorly at the box-office and even the awards can’t save it from being the tail-ender in this year’s MMFF. At Gateway yesterday, all the other films had lines especially Sisterakas but there seemed no activity at Cinema 8 were Thy Womb was being shown. The door to Cinema 8 was closed and there were no people entering or going out of the theater compared to Cinema 9 where Shake 14 was being shown. Thing is people want to be entertained. You can make a good art film and still entertain people and not bore them. I read a review from a writer that he heard some people yawning and snoring while he was watching Thy Womb. Noranians should show their support by patronizing the film of their idol. Nasaan kayo?

  6. Pingback: Thy Womb « Pinoy Rebyu

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