I have been disinterested with the local film festival circuit for almost a decade now, and it is a sad fact that I only make the effort to watch the entries when they’re given their brief stints in the more accessible cinemahouses. The latest film I could file under that category is Jade Castro’s Endo.
The movie trailer (posted above), the score (by Ang Bandang Shirley‘s frontman/songwriter Owel Alvero), and its awards (from Cinemalaya and Festival des 3 Continents 2007)/credits (screenwriting powerhouse Michiko Yamamoto as producer), were already factors that begs for the tag ‘promising‘. That boy Jason Abalos looks like he’s out to prove something, and that Ina Feleo seems to lovingly occupy the screen with a relentless, muted charm. My assumptions were proven right: no recent local -nor foreign- movie I’ve seen lately comes even close to the simple greatness of this honest romance.
Endo – from ‘end-of-contract‘- refers to the last day of contractual employment usually set for menial jobs in restaurants, malls, etc., and Leo (Jason Abalos) has settled for this setup in order to provide for his family, an inutile father (Ricky Davao) who spends time at home attending to his gamecock, and a non-studious student of a younger brother. His relationships follow the endo pattern as well, until he meets Tanya (Ina Feleo) who tries to convince him of better opportunities. Leo’s mindset is hard-pressed to break from his routine, and this leaves Tanya disappointed and heartbroken.
The wonderful writing was superbly acted out by both Abalos and Feleo that wordless moments are sufficient, and spoken exchanges of love, and/or the desperation that oozes out of it were shown like you were watching people you know exclaim it. Unarguably, the best moment of the film was when Leo was convincing Tanya to re-think her latest career choice: the dialogue was near perfect human drama, and one wouldn’t believe the words came out from a script. The shaky camera documenting the scene appears to reflect on how any viewer might react to it – I should not see this, I’m intruding into these people’s lives, but I haven’t seen this amount of a truthful collective emotion from a suffering love before.
I didn’t expect the film to last a week in the mainstream movie circuit, but I’m glad to see it made it to the weekend. Do yourself a favor and watch it TODAY, here.
Really, it would’ve been a ideal movie date movie, considering its a buy-one-ticket-get-two deal.
After seeing the pictures here, I’m almost sure I went to the same college, and probably belong to the same batch, as director/writer Jade Castro.
Oh and that ultra-catchy movie theme song?
I should have a ready compliment ready for Owel when I get to watch his band again at the gigs I cover.
I feel compelled to say more about the film, after reading this thread, and after realizing I’ve reduced a movie as a contender to that other Valentine’s Day movie with Marimar and Kamandag.
I’d call myself a sediment deep in the pit of the lower middle class strata, but I wasn’t familiar with the pitfalls of the labor segment portrayed in the movie. Its interesting how capitalism breeds repressed dreams, and satisfaction with the most modest of ambitions, and how everyone’s ultimate means of escape is to go abroad. Nothing new, I know, but having this shown onscreen as a loud undercurrent to a birth-death-revival cycle of a boy-girl relationship makes it come off as a competent, potent, and solid ground, gladly absent of soap-operatic devices.
This is obvious social realism, but same as what came out of Magnifico, UFO Pictures made this accessible to just about anyone, including the same sector it decided to talk about.