|JAKE CUENCA, JOEM BASCON|
Those who make a big fuss over the intimate scenes between two rebels (played by Jake Cuenca and Joem Bascon) in Joel Lamangan’s “Lihis” may be missing a vital point. These scenes stand out because of their shock value.
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In fact, the film “Lihis” is not only physical intimacy of the Sineng Pambansa indie. Those who thinks it is, is doing the film and its creators, among them award-winning scriptwriter Ricky Lee a grave injustice.
The major point of the film is a dictator’s cruel act of manipulating the past to his good deed. It is a about the truth that no issue how much one hides the truth, it will always come out, not in the present age group possibly, but in the next according to the latest celebrity update.
“Lihis” tells the story of an armed struggle against oppression and of how two men gave their lives to set their countrymen free. It’s like “War and Peace” on a smaller scale. The ugly side of war, the chaos, pillaging, gunfights, has an upside. Love blooms in the time of war, in this case, the revolution right smack in the middle of the mountains circa 1970.
That love is romantic as it is nationalistic. Dominador (Joem) and Cesar (Jake are willing to die for that love. It is how they prove this that makes the movie powerful and touching as well.
Furthermore, Direk Joel admits that “Lihis” is close to his heart. He denounced salvaging in “Burgos,” forced disappearances in Dukot. Now, the one-time UP (University of the Philippines) student is at it again. He wants to stand up for the truth and let his audience – especially young people who weren’t born when martial law was declared.
He lifts the thick rug that covers political cruelties and shows what’s been lying under it for years – so others would know and the next generation will never ever forget.
Lead actors, Jake Cuenca, Joem Bascon and Lovi Poe are usual for the character. Predictably, Gloria Diaz as the older (Ka Jasmine) is burning and convincing. Her real-life daughter Isabelle Daza as Ada the history teacher, who ties the story together, needs more of Gloria’s brilliance as an actress. But Isabelle is a lot younger and newer to the game. Her award-winning actress-mother will naturally outshine her in highly-charged scenes.
However, by Gloria as adviser, Isabelle is able to yet mature a lot more as an artist. So let’s give her time.
On the other hand, by means of more meaty character like the one in “Lihis,” Isabelle might just get there someday.
Meanwhile, “Lihis” will be released on September 11 to 17, 2013 in SM cinemas nationwide as part of the Sineng Pambansa All-Masters Series. SM will not release any foreign and Tagalog film except for those that are part of the six-day series.