Baler (2008)

Calling this a review would be a misnomer. This entry is more of what I felt when I was watching the film and afterward.

Baler used to be a part of Quezon Province (of course it wasn't called Quezon then, but the Province of Tayabas) where my dad of Armenian, Spanish, Japanese and Indian ancestry, hails from. Aurora now is another province. Nevertheless, because of its history and linkage of the people the two provinces were named after, it will forever be a "part" of Quezon.

Having seen the posters last year, I became very interested in watching the film. I wondered why Anne Curtis was chosen as Feliza and Jericho was cast as Celso. Anne Curtis looked more mestiza than Jericho, et cetera, et cetera.

According to film_angel, "The main purpose was to highlight the innate kindness and hospitality of the Baler folks. The filmmakers erred when they veered away from that objective."

Even so, the movie achieved dramatic effect and Roy C. Iglesia deserves his screenwriting award.

Honestly, I found Ryan Eigenmann and Michael de Mesa's acting better than Phillip Salvador's , even if he was great in his own way too.

The script was fair to both sides (the Spaniards and the Filipinos). The Spaniards thought the "Indios" were trying to dupe them (Which was quite disturbingly amusing (or amusingly disturbing, whatever the case may be) because how could 'stupid' people dupe intelligent people?) and the Filipinos' anger was up to the brim already. They just wanted justice and freedom...eventually peace.

My favorite part in the movie were the few moments Feliza and Celso had after being apart for a long time. They could not even embrace each other and touching each others fingers inconspicuously was the only way they could show each other their love...their yearning...their "passion".

Anne has gone a long, long way from being a young actress who looked too rich to play a sampaguita vendor (though she had other appearances before that, that was the first role I saw her play) to her very memorable WHEN LOVE BEGINS portrayal of a young rich girl in love with an environmental lawyer to her playing the lead character in Dyosa and of course, to her portrayal of Feliza, the mestizo Celso Resurrecion's one and only love.
Baler may not be a perfect film, but I invite you to watch this or buy the DVD when it is out in the market.

Kudos to the cast and crew!

Metro Manila Film Festival 2008 (Philippines)


Best Picture

Best Actress - Anne Curtis

Best Supporting Actor - Phillip Salvador

Best Director - Mark Meily

Best Screenplay-Roy C. Iglesias

Best Cinematography-Lee Meily

Best Editing-Danny Anonuevo

Best Production Design-Aped Santos

Gender Sensitivity Award

Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas Cultural Award

Anne Curtis : Feliza Reyes
Jericho Rosales : Celso Resurrecion
Phillip Salvador : Daniel Reyes
Rio Locsin : Azon
Carlo Aquino : Gabriel Reyes
Nikki Bacolod : Luming
Mark Bautista : Lope Tabuena
Ryan Eigenmann : Martin Cerezo
Leo Martinez : Calixto Villacorte
Michael de Mesa: Cura Pároco

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