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- ‘Kabisera’ Reexamines the Societal Order in the Context of Family
Posted by : Pinoy Screen and Stage Saturday, December 24, 2016
The poster does not give away anything except that it could give one an idea that Nora Aunor will somehow be linked to all the events happening to the people who’s faces happened to be on the table where she sits at the head of. Those who watched Gina Alajar in the 2012 Mater Dolorosa might think that the plot is somehow similar. After all, all the clues the potential moviegoers have lead to some big incident happening which shakes the foundation of the family structure, eventually forcing the mother to become head of the household.
The De Dios family is your ideal Filipino household save for the fact that it’s headed by a an actual leader of the community, Tunying (Ricky Davao), a barangay captain. Right off the bat, the foreshadowing of darker things to come is clearly shown by ‘accidents’ happening at inopportune moments. Her three sons (JC De Vera, Jason Abalos, RJ Agustin) are your typical rowdy boys, flirting around with girls, drowning themselves in liquor when they have problems too heavy to carry, but still coming home on time for meals at their family table. Little did they know that their fate will be similar to what Mercy de Dios (Nora Aunor), the matriarch, has read in the newspaper.
Like Real Florido’s 1st Ko si 3rd, the film’s central character is a woman yet it obviously depicts a world where men rule and women are indecisive. The CHR official (Ces Quesada) might have started off strong when she went marching up to the house with her forensic team to investigate the attack that happened, but after two more scenes, she is shown nonchalantly putting on her lipstick with the attorney handling the case (Victor Neri), apparently suddenly oblivious of the family’s plight and turning tail because of the powers that be. Even Mercy, when she had to take her seat at the head of the table, is shown as fidgety and unsure of handling such a big responsibility thrust upon her shoulders.
The best element of the film is Topel Lee’s cinematography, which usually goes behind and around the characters, as established in the opening scene during the conversation between the family meal. In that particular scene, and on others where a metaphor of balance need to be portrayed, it equally focuses on the character in the frame like the panopticon it is. However, when female characters is included the frame, such as the scene where Nora Aunor is eavesdropping, the camera just quickly changes focus to show her face. This unusual camera movement and angle also happens in the scenes of Rhen Escaño and Coleen Perez, both romantic interests of Mercy’s sons, and both shown to be either argumentative or easily giving up.
“Tama ka marahil, higante nga ang binabangga natin,” said the attorney to Mercy towards the end as they march into the unknown where the real fight has begun. In our society, we have recently begun tolerating that women can level the playing field with men, but to get to acceptance, we all have to forge on.