Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2: Subversive cinema to be relished
By Nonoy L. Lauzon
While it may not be the best film in the festival, but among all the competing features, it appears to have the most intelligent and well-crafted screenplay proving itself much more grounded in reality while relying on devices of hyper-realism and committing to the hard discipline of critique.
Philippine cinema is turning one hundred years old in a couple of years from now and what could be utterly relevant more than ever are films that precisely supply audiences an inside look into how movies are made in the country.
For this reason alone, Marlon Rivera’s Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2, an entry in the recently concluded Metro Manila Film Festival, is bound to have eternal resonance. Surprisingly the film didn’t fare well with the festival jury ending up with zero awards which is ironic especially since the original feature of which it is the sequel won the topmost plum and a slew of other honors at Cinemalaya and came to be quite celebrated on its own all the way internationally.
This sequel is by all means superior to the preceding film with a bigger production cost and greater profundity. Such rightfully lampoons this time major studio fare in lieu of the despicable indie. It provides a rich reference guide to how the industry succeeds at duping and milking mass audiences to generate those bucks in hundred millions for the sustenance of studio filmmaking.
The humor in the film coming in all hues and variants thus serves to be educative allowing audiences more than the industry people to laugh at themselves for their gullibility and for falling prey to the wily ways of mainstream cinema. It occasions an instance of epiphany that the viewing public deserves to hopefully put a stop to all the mediocrity, preposterousness and ridiculousness that popular cinema in the country more often than not represents.
The film spares no one with its acerbic tirades and does not mince in calling a spade a spade to single out every dirty trick and trade secret in propping up the infrastructure of survival tactics that the industry heavily depends on to existentially justify itself.
If one wants the local film industry destroyed, the film also points the way and here lies the subversive aspect of its making thereby giving one a clue exactly why it should be cherished, relished and most importantly, propagated.