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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Nov 29, 2013

Woman Of The Ruins Movie Review: Self Conscious Art Film That Will Cater To A Very Limited Artsy Fartsy Crowd

"Woman of the Ruins" is one of those self-conscious art films that deliberately try to be cryptic and profound for its own good. As such, it will naturally cater to only a very small artsy fartsy and limited market and not the general 'masa' audience who just seek entertainment.

The film is filled with much foreboding. The production design, the cinematography, the costumes and even the acting of the characters seem to indicate that something big and ominous is coming, so we viewers wait and wait for it in all its tediousness.

Things get a bit more interesting when a woman is washed ashore. She looks exactly like the dead Maria and Pasyon immediately declares that she is his missing wife. But the woman is afflicted with amnesia and can't remember anything about Pasyon. In a strange and weird act, Pasyon tries to convince her by raping her and torturing her. Chanel, who's secretly lusting after Pasyon, helps Alessandra, who gets pregnant. Oropesa, in turn, is seen humping one of the village's old men. The men in the village then take turns in raping Alessandra and Chanel. Art punishes himself as a flagellant in the island's Lenten rites. We never really know if the woman is Maria or just an impersonator.

The movie is obviously trying to say something significant about morality, religion and superstition, but the storytelling and imagery get so muddled along the way and it just goes on and on without coalescing into one comprehensible cohesive whole. The cumbersomeness of the whole on-screen proceedings makes us steadily lose our interest and our patience simply because we just don't care what would happen to any of the characters. We end up being desperately bored ourselves and walked out on the movie. One co-writer who stayed on told us later: "Buti na lang umalis ka na. Nagpakamatay lang silang lahat." Alas, the histrionics of Art, Alessandra, Beth O and Chanel all come to nothing due to the inherent weaknesses of the basic material.