<script async src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script> <!-- Showbiz Portal Bottom 1 300x250, created 10/15/10 --> <ins class="adsbygoogle" style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px" data-ad-client="ca-pub-1272644781333770" data-ad-slot="2530175011"></ins> <script> (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); </script>
Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Nov 21, 2013

Ang Alamat Ni China Doll Review: So Many Questions Left Unanswered

‘ALAMAT NI China Doll” has an impressive cast: Angelica Panganiban in the title role, with Phillip Salvador and Cesar Montano as the men in her life. What it doesn’t have is an involving narrative and a cohesive storyline. Told in a non-linear manner, the movie just goes back and forth in time and hops around without any rhyme or reason. Director Adolf Alix just wants to jumble the chronology and it’s up to the viewer to connect the dots. No wonder after the screening, Angelica herself told the audience: “Sana po naintindihan nyo ang pelikula namin.”

Because it’s true, the movie became so muddled that it starts with Alamat ni China Doll and ends up with someone narrating the Alamat ng Agila. It poses so many questions but fails to come up with satisfying answers or explanations. In the end, you get the feeling that it’s not complete, that so many scenes intended to tie up the so many loose ends in the plot were not shot at all. And we viewers are being asked to connect the dots.

For instance, it fails to explain why China Doll (Angelica) has become legendary? Bakit siya itinuturing na alamat, aber? Is she really a terrorist? And who is Carlo Aquino? Is he Angelica’s missing brother Antonio? Why does he have so many fake scars on his face? Why is he going on a bombing spree? And who is Cherry Pie Picache? Why is she crying silently? Is she demented? You can feel there must be a good story hidden somewhere in this movie, in these characters. But sorry, we viewers are not prescient mind-readers.

We were told that the script, written by Lav Diaz, is not what came out on the screen. So what is Ronald Arguelles, head of Cinema One, doing about this? They’re very strict about the scripts. What happens when it’s not followed. We also heard that the director started filming the movie only some weeks before the start of the Cinema One filmfest. Maybe that’s the reason why it comes out as incomplete and appears like there are still many scenes waiting to be shot? Whatever the answer maybe, let this be a valuable lesson for Mr. Arguelles for his next festivals. We hope from now on he’ll always take into consideration the track record of the filmmakers who’ve already done movies for him.