Courtesy – Facebook
The Mindanao Film Festival is a regional independent film festival in the Philippines which is held annually on December. This year (2016), we celebrate the 12th Mindanao Film Festival (December 7 – 13, 2016). Balagtas is one of the short films viewed in the film festival. It was created by Director Jamir Mallari from Davao City, Philippines. Balagtas is the surname of Francisco Balagtas, a well known Filipino writer.
The film is remotely sensed as filmed in black and white. It is a narrative poem that speaks about a certain woman of interest and the narrator’s feelings toward his future actions. The narrator acts as the subject of the film, he is first seen in the shower room and then later on uses his phone, viewing the woman who is the object of the poem, he begins roaming around the city while searching for someone. He finds the woman he is looking for and then casually stalks her. The camera shows the woman driving the car and later on stops the car and upon leaving the car, the woman finds herself in front of the narrator, she is in fear as the narrator puts out a knife and begins to assault her. The woman dies and the narrator walks away as if he has fulfilled his mission.
This mystifies the audience as they are filled with curiosity. The audience may interpret the film as a love story about a hitman being sent by the woman’s former lover to kill her. It may also be misinterpreted as a film about a man reciting his poem about his lover who was killed by the man who is the subject of the film. This may not be because the subject of the poem is also the subject of the film and there is a reason behind the title of the film (Balagtas) to be named after a well known Filipino writer, the focus of the film is not the story but the message behind it.
The film, given it’s mysterious theme, perplexing plot and revealing end is not about a lover but about the narrator himself as he is a poet, he creates a poem about his lifestyle, his routine and how he feels about it. The auditory purpose of the film is to represent the subject’s passion; poetry. The visual purpose of the film represents the subject’s work/ profession which is a hitman. Besides combining the audio and visual of the film, Jamir Mallari managed to combine passion and profession. The reason behind this message is the society, children ignoring their talents because academic knowledge is believed to be the dominant intelligence, environmentalists employing in bank corporations because they need the money. Profession is essential to life but there is no point to living if passion does not exist.
-Jose Mari King