Bambanti (2015) -Sinag Maynila


Bambanti means scarecrow in Ilocano

Although very different, scenes of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables played in my mind while watching this film.  I couldn't help but feel miserable for the plight of the poor relatives being accused of stealing a watch, just because of their status in life.  Every scene was so vivid and very, very real. The town of Luna, Isabela...a place unfamiliar to me(I've been to Isabela, but not there), became very familiar, indeed.  I never knew of the Bambanti Festival and it was great to know that such a festival exists.  Who knows, I might go and experience the festival one day.

Alessandra de Rossi, as Belyn, became the pilot of my journey to this quaint and mysterious town.  At least, that's what the movie conveyed to me.  The town was a bit mystical, but their problems were real as real could be.

Ms. de Rossi is really a very beautiful and talented person.  The expressions of her eyes and her every movement bares to us the soul of Belyn.  We are able to feel all Belyn's pain and anguish.  Her frustration and anger...her every emotion. She is not just a laundry woman.  She is a widow. A mother. An in-law. A person.  She cries for justice.  She clamors for the truth even if her in-laws already prejudged her poor Popoy.

Shamaine Centenera-Buencamino plays Martha.  The mother of Cristy(played by her real life daughter, Delphine) and the sister-in-law of Belyn, who is caught in a whirlwind of different emotions.  I have always been one of her admirers since God knows when(a long time ago), but one of her roles that really impressed me was from that Clusivol TV ad with her real life husband, Nonie Buencamino.  They played a role of a poor couple.  As the wife(do I remember this correctly?) she was worried about the health of her husband.  The way she gulped water is very familiar to me(I observed the neighbors of my friends...and people I have met along the way) and I am sure that is not the way she gulps water in person.  Sigh.  I'm digressing.  Alright.  Let me continue.  Here, as Martha, she was sort of caught in between.  She believes she is a good person and her accusation that Popoy's stealing the gold watch is justified...after all, the witch doctor said so, no matter how vaguely.

Delphine Buencamino plays Cristy, Martha's daughter.  She is depicted as someone who is spoiled, but there is more to her than that. The elements inside her are battling within, making her very, very corrosive. I wish to see more of Delphine in the future.  She blessed to be Noni and Shamaine's daughter, but she, on her own, proves to be someone worth noticing(take note of her very expressive eyes). 

and

Micko Laurente plays Popoy, Belyn's son.  He is very smart and in my opinion, a very handsome lad.  I don't recall if I have watched any other film with him in it, but he acted like he was acting for a very, very long time.  Well, probably it's because of his training in theater, but the magnifications of acting are different in theater and on the silver screen. In Bambanti, he plays a son of a laundry woman who is accused of stealing a treasure...a gold watch. He played the part so well that I wouldn't be surprised if projects would be lining up soon.





I don't want to give the whole story away.  There are things that would surprise you towards the end and I don't want to ruin it for you.

All I can say more is that this is truly a team effort.  Zig Dulay wrote and directed it well.  The members of the cast from the bit players to the main characters were carefully chosen.  They worked great together.  They transported us to Isabela and for a short while, we were made to believe that we were watching everything just right in front of us...like we were stalkers of some sort.

I love films that make me think and Bambanti is definitely one them.



Trailer of Bambanti
Pictures from the gala night(19 March 2015).  We were there during the gala night because of BALUT COUNTRY, but we did watch BAMBANTI the day before.  It took a while before I was able to form the words because I was too  frazzled that day.   Thankfully, I was able to finish one, though short and simple.  


Alessandra wowed everyone with her captivating performance sans makeup(at least, it looked that way)


Some of the Bambanti team

The lady with a pink bag is Sarah Delphine C. Buencamino, the daughter of  Shamaine and Noni.  She plays Cristy, the cousin of Popoy(she also plays the daughter of her mother here).


EVERYONE gave great performances!  Sorry I was not able to mention you all.





We were waiting for the screening of BALUT COUNTRY 

It says: "Happy birthday, Mike!"  I told them how to angle it, but I wasn't able to do it myself
Ms. Lui Manansala and Ms. Shamaine Buencamino
(both of them look younger and more beautiful in person) 


Mom with the beautiful Shamaine Centenera-Buencamino


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