Monday, January 31, 2011

Rindido - Rage Against Mediocrity

Nowhere in the world is foreign employment considered as noble as Jose Rizal or Benigno Aquino who sacrificed freedom and life for the common good. The Philippines has in fact made it hip and socially palatable – “Bagong Bayani”!

But since remittances of such OFW’s have somehow kept our country afloat from economic catastrophe, we started placing labels for them.


Don't get me wrong, I have the highest respect for their sacrifices. Yet if I were the foreign worker, I wouldn’t give much thought to the affairs of the state. Truth is, if I cared enough, I would never leave my nativeland! I would not seek greener pastures elsewhere!

If I were an OFW, I would work abroad for inherently selfish reasons – not for the common good, but for myself and my family alone! My family! Not others! If that makes me a modern-day hero, then everyone around the world who works for self and family should rightfully be called a “hero”, right? After all, what does that make the Pinoys who opted to suffer through his country’s various upheavals by toiling the local soil – or burning the midnight flame – in the land where he was born? Are non-OFW’s really less of a hero for working so hard to get so little?


Director Noriel Jarito spins a tale on the anatomy of “rage” which, according to some of the production’s drumbeaters, is what “Rindido” means. Of course we have to disagree, graciously that is. “Rindido” or “rendido” is a pang-uring panlarawan (adjective) that covers the following: “litong lito”, “lawit na ang dila sa pagod”, “patang pata”. Nowhere is “rage” or “fury” in the realm of the aforementioned. If they wanted a more dramatic title, “Panibugho” would have been more appropriate; a weird-sounding title (much like how obscure "Rindido" is) one that belies depth would have been “Pangingimbulo”. But let’s leave it with “Rindido”. It's all just word play anyway.


Efren (Noriel Jarito) is a middle aged overseas foreign worker (OFW) who, one day, finds himself abruptly unemployed. From Saudi Arabia, he flies back home with just a backpack and a hand-carried brown box. The tortuous way home is littered with robbers so he turns up empty handed, and surprised. He runs across his mistress Lani (Chanel Latorre) locked in embrace with resident plumber Carlos (Vic Tiro). He drops his backpack and sends Carlos away running for dear life, but Carlos’ drinking buddies help the latter until Efren’s beaten into a pulp. Cut to: Efren and Lani in passionate lovemaking. Didn’t he catch his wife in flagrante just a few minutes ago? Now he’s pumping and pouncing away like there’s no tomorrow. No bruising or puffy cheeks expected from someone who just got mauled by three thugs!

After their fervid copulation, the big dramatic moment ensues. Lani implores, “Pag usapan natin ang nangyari kanina, Ren.” Then she weaves a hokey scenario that justifies her misdeeds. That she was coerced by Carlos at knife-point. Then she moronically adds, “Ikaw kasi, ang tagal mong nawala!” But if you listened carefully from their neighbor’s soundbites, you’d hear one saying, “Eh kahahatid ko lang nyan sa airport!Ano ba talaga, ate? Then Lani goes further (digging herself a grave): “Alam kong mali ang ginawa ko!” You were intimidated yet you admit fault? Something doesn't add up. Now you understand exactly where Efren is coming from if he suddenly runs amok, right?

Fun after getting clobbered! He found out he's been cheated - yet he ends up shagging her. Then he gets her explanations later. Get it?

Told in non-linear fashion, the premise is rather simple. Noriel Jarito who wears several hats (producer, director, script writer, cinematographer, actor) obviously wants his cake and eat it too. The result is a slapdash ouvre that meanders into a myopic character study that doesn’t even bear new insight on the plight of foreign workers, fidelity, or enviable artistry. Each character is cardboard caricature, with a weak level of insight on the inherent motivation of its people. Jarito wears a single facial expression throughout the film; he has this seemingly blunt affect that slightly changes when he closes his eyes during coitus. Let’s not even mention that middle aged Jarito isn’t your typical empathy-inspiring protagonist: Efren is balding, dark and pot bellied - and morose looking! Why he believes he’d make the rightful lead is beyond us, and that doesn’t make it right! Vanity is such a blinding nuisance, it deflects focus.

That Jarito is a real former OFW isn’t a valid excuse for him to play one on screen while the movie-going public is paying for this sad truth. The script seems to be a product of an after-thought with nothing much in between lines. Direction is banal and mostly careless as well. While Efren was on his way to his apartment, imagine one character saying, “Naku, andun pa si Diego. Ay si Carlo pala!” LOL. One friggin line that’s easily editable, but it ends up in the film anyway. In the fight scene where Efren’s victims fall down the floor, you don’t see any gushing blood. Instead they are faded dried up red stains. The only hint of emotion we saw was when Efren was holding his hostage (Lotlot Bernardo), with knife on the other hand. He tentatively says, “Wag kang malikot!” Like he was blowing away a mosquito. Realizing it was too weak a statement, he shouted the second time, “Wag kang malikot.” Which he meant this time around. Talk about conviction.

Vic Tiro plays Carlos (or was it Diego?), Banjo Romero the posture-perfect policeman, and Chanel Latorre as the bitch-in-heat Lani. Unfortunately, a lackluster script meant to highlight Efren leaves these three other characters with docile, albeit one-note performances. The film surreptitiously ends with a baffling shot of the Manila skyline hosting a fireworks display. What that was for is a mystery. An antithesis maybe? But I highly doubt that was the objective.

Balletic fight scenes

I don’t see glory (the celebratory "fireworks") in the carnage borne out of someone’s misfortune. And if this were another form of homage to the OFW, someone has to be answerable to its dank mediocrity. In my book, there is no accolade for the adulterer. That he suffers gravely from his unemployment is maybe something that he richly deserves for abandoning a wife and a child. Clocking in at just 1 hour, this film feels like a protracted flicker of an idea more than a film feature. Paying P171 to watch it is like buying that expensive ice cream (Cold Rock Ice Cream in Greenbelt, anyone?), but then you accidentally dropped it on the floor! Ooops!

Rindido” was one of the five Metro Manila Filmfest indie picks – one of the five that was never shown commercially. This then begs the question: Who were the people in-charge in screening these indies? Are they mentally challenged? Or were the choices drawn blindly by picking lots randomly from a bowl? Once again, shame on you, MMFF organizers! Now I know why these indies were never shown commercially at the MMFF.


When a moviegoer pays somewhere between P150 to P220 to watch a movie at the cinema, do we owe anything to their well-intentioned filmmakers? “No” is a resounding answer! Do they owe us good cinema? You bet they do! We paid for good cinema. And it isn’t enough that the end-product is borne out of good intentions or anybody’s blood, sweat and tears. Our payment circumvents their hardship, but not necessarily our loyal appreciation. What if we say, such product is a tribute to a long-suffering segment of society (OFWs)? Is patronage equivalent to false appreciation when there’s not much merit worth celebrating for? This is a disservice to the foreign workers - as they are depicted adulterers, unstable, killers! Do we praise a film such as this one? That would constitute infarction against the 9th commandment (Exodus 20:16) - Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Ergo, thou shall not lie! Not just to self but to others as well.

I cannot lie!

Robin Padilla-wannabe Banjo Romero is the policeman caught in a balletically, graciously choreographed fight scene with Jarito. This was gun versus knife! And having known that Efren has already killed several people, guess who died? LOL

Vic Tiro is plumber Carlos who attends to Lani's clogged pipes.

Chanel LaTorre's enviable talent of devouring a banana.

Like wearing a mask?


ironoriel said...

Thanks a lot for watching and for the review/comments.

Cathy P. said...

And thanks for being magnanimous. :->

sineasta said...

nabibilib ako sa 'yo. talagang pinapanood mo kahit ano. nang makita ko pa lang ang direktor nito na nagpo-promote sa master showman, napatanga na ko. sino siya? at bakit one-man team 'ata siya? haha.

(siguro sour-graping lang ako kasi gusto ko maglabas ng full-lenght movie. haha.)

anyway, ayun! mas bilib ako sa 'yo kasi ginagastusan mo sila, inaalayan ng oras, kahit pa marindi ka sa kabobohan nila!

saludo ako sa 'yo! di ko kakayanin 'yan.


Cathy P. said...

jheck / sineasta:

Salamat po! Am suddenly embarrassed. haha

It actually takes me forever to start writing my thoughts about every indie that I get to watch. I keep putting it off every time. But I know that to show these local film makers that some people take local movies seriously is by writing a length dissertation on these otherwise neglected local films. I don't do that with English films unless I'm discussing the work of an old film master like Visconte, Bergman, Ozu,

I sometimes feel a chill every after finishing a blog post. Am I too harsh? Or arrogant? Or just simply gorgeous? Haha. Sometimes I just keep writing and writing and end up losing myself in between. Hay naku. Nasasapian ako ng kung ano. Haha.

But thanks for the kind words. I feel I ought to be kinder with my comments. But maybe that will happen when I am older. ;->

sineasta said...

I also tried writing reviews about gay films, but couldn't get to do so because I don't know where to start sa sobrang dami ng mali. Aside from the fact that it irks me that they get to do a film and just simply waste the opportunity. Some filmmakers even kept on doing the same mistakes over and over again that you get to ask if they really know how to make films or just too stubborn to change their ways. Parang sila 'yung mga tipong pinabili lang ng suka sa tindahan, naging direktor na. Heto kami na nagpapakahirap sa film school samantalang sila ay sinisira ang medium na pinakamamahal namin.

Just keep doing this! I'm not sure if they read criticisms at all or are trying to improve their crafts. But at least you get to "educate" viewers. Du'n magsisimula para rin pag may alam na ang viewers at wala nang nanonood sa crappy movies, magbabago rin ang mga 'yan.


Cathy P. said...

The advent of technology has made film-making child's play. Everyone who can afford a good video camera feels like they have the right to make movies (neal tan, sanchez brothers, It's really sad.

sineasta said...

Sanchez brothers? Who are they? What are their movies?

I know those Tan brothers, though! Kabi-kabila ang labas ng pelikula nila. Parang mayro'n silang di maubos-ubos na kaban ng pera. Aside from that, nakakakuha pa sila ng mga batikang artista para lumabas sa pelikula nila! Ang tindi!

And Cris Pablo?! While Phil. cinema could be thankful to him for paving the way to digital films, he was also the first one to become opportunistic about it by coming out with less than favorable films in succession. (In one of his movies, sarili pa niya ang ginawa niyang artista!) Hindi tumataas ang kalidad ng pelikula niya, bagkus ay pababa ng pababa.

Somehow, I still manage to give him the benefit of the doubt, but my own expectations fail me everytime. Parang di na siya magbabago. Ginagamit niya lang ang hard-earned money ng mga bading para sa mga basura niyang trabaho (at workshops). Kung sana lang ay magamit niya ang producer skills niya sa pagpapaunlad ng ibang filmmakers na may higit na kakayahan sa kanya ay di sana'y mas mapapakinabangan pa siya ng husto ng industriya.


Cathy P. said...

Seymour Barros-Sanchez directed one of the most awful movies in any decade, "Handumanan" (Chin chin Gutierrez, Jason Abalos, Akihiro Sato). Sigfried Barros-Sanchez directed one of 2010's worst films - Cinema one's "Tsardyer"; also the pretentious "Anak ni Brocka". One of them is even a professor teaching Film, i think, at the University of Makati. LOL. Imagine that!

Cris Pablo is one of my earliest "repliers" here. I've always given him special mention everytime I am name-dropping "worst works". Here's the link to amy review and Mr. Cris Pablo's reply:

The Tan Brothers are also frequent special mentions, along with Cris pablo, but i have since dropped "Joven Tan" becuase his "Magdamag" was actually fetching (Rita Avila, 2010).

I mentioned the Tans here (2nd paragraph):

My sentiments, exactly!

sineasta said...

Malakas talaga ang dating pag pinanood mo sila sa sinehan kaya di kita masisisi sa nagiging reaksyon mo. Ganu'n din ako kapag nanonood ako ng Star Cinema flicks. However, it lessens the blow when you see them on videos only. They become bearable. I don't exactly know why. Probably because your expectations are higher when you see them on the big screen. Kaya nga iwas na akong manood ng mga ganitong klaseng pelikula unless gusto ko talaga.

Naku, let's not forget another pretentious filmmaker na si Monti Parungao na hindi ko matindihan ang tingin sa mga bading. Para sa kanya, "straight" sexual beings lang ang mga ito at walang utak kaya puro kabobohan ang ginagawa sa pelikula. Haha.

Anonymous said...

"Malakas talaga ang dating pag pinanood mo sila sa sinehan kaya di kita masisisi sa nagiging reaksyon mo. Ganu'n din ako kapag nanonood ako ng Star Cinema flicks. However, it lessens the blow when you see them on videos only. They become bearable."

Magandang insight po ito pagdating sa viewing experience. Nung bata ako, naalala ko nung nanood ako ng "the neverending story" sa sinehan at parang di ako masyado na-impresss. Pero todo-hagulgol ako nung pinanood ko siya sa betamax namin. Siguro mas mainam na itulak ang ibang style ng distribution ng isang pelikula na kung saan mas aakma siya. Hindi, one-size fits all dahil parang sadyang may mga pelikula na hindi pang big-screen. Parang sa music din siguro. Para sa akin, the best way to listen to lo-fi music is with lo-fi equipment.

Maraming salamat po sa inyong blog at mga makabuluhang reviews.

Cathy Pena said...

I make an exception of posting this anonymous message because it tackles an issue that deserves discourse.

Yes, I agree that some films can be better appreciated on the big screen more than when viewing it in the comforts of your home. Your thought is on films better viewed on small screen. It's a middling theory, in my opinion, because for me, films are meant to be seen up on silver screens. Betamax, laser discs and the emergence of new technology: DVD, Blu-ray, iPod films, laptop screenings, digital discs are just mere innovations of viewing experience. Movies tell stories to deliver the "big picture", but the alternative methods are obviously "small" and they deviate from the original goal of "celluloid".

But I've no scruples against small screen. I will watch films where they are available... in whatever form or medium. Your preference can't be questioned. It's your choice, after all.

I doubt thought if I'd change my "tune" on "Rindido" regardless of the medium. I have issues with its content, delivery and presentation, not its format. These issues will still be present once I view the film in a smaller screen.

Thanks for your thoughts. Here's wishing you'd name yourself next time.

sineasta said...

"Nung bata ako, naalala ko nung nanood ako ng "the neverending story" sa sinehan at parang di ako masyado na-impresss. Pero todo-hagulgol ako nung pinanood ko siya sa betamax namin."

One factor that could be consider in watching films is one's personal disposition at the time he saw the film. Pwedeng nu'ng napanood mo 'yung movie sa Beta, mas naka-relate ka na. Mas naintindihan mo na.

There are films that when you saw the first time have no impact on you. Years later, when you see them again, iba na ang dating sa 'yo. Pwede ring vice versa. Sabi nga ay there's no stable meaning in films. Depende 'yan sa manonood at sa panahon.

But then again, a good film is a good film no matter what format it is in, sabi nga ni Cathy. Dapat nga ay mas maganda ang pelikula kapag pinapanood sa sinehan dahil meant 'yun na mapanood du'n.

Cathy Pena said...

Agree re: disposition and preferential changes. Film viewing is still a subjective experience.

duduy po ang pangalan ko said...

Methinks "middling" is a bit harsh, but hey, it's your blog. :)

Actually, my thoughts are more along the lines that not every film is better off on the big screen. In which case, i guess we can just agree to disagree on this matter. Im not familiar with what you refer to as the "original goal of celluloid" but it maybe safe to say that it has since outgrown it's original purpose.

My take on it is that nothing is ever meant to be on anything. Because thinking so implies an inherent limitation. That's why for me, new technologies aren't mere innovations in viewing, they are new methods and venues for telling stories. I liken this to the idea of an intimate theater. The big picture doesn't always have to be big.

I do agree,though, about considering one's disposition at the time he/she saw the film. (salamat @sineasta) In my case, i just don't think it was a factor. I just didn't connect to it on a bigger scale, much in the same
way when i saw a movie called "Serenity" in the theaters. (That particular movie has some television roots, though, and i fully understand whatever arguments that may be raised against it on that aspect).

At any rate, i'd have to say that i truly have no intention of changing your tune about "Rindido". It's simply as bad as they come. And no alternative format can cure it.

I'd like to put in my two cents worth on the title lang sana. "Rindi" (it's not as obscure as it sounds) as i've come to understood it growing up
has more to do with sound or more appropriately, the state of being overwhelmed by it. "Rinding-rindi" is akin to binging-bingi.
While it's a plausible origin for rage, i just had to wonder where it was in the movie, even in a metaphorical sense. Oh well.

My thanks to you for giving notice to my comment and making it appear more important than it actually is. :)

Cathy Pena said...


Stories are indeed told in films and on stage to highlight specific situations, giving them a more appropriate avenue than mere hearsay or second-hand stories; to render them a “big picture”. It legitimizes them. And what’s bigger than the silver screen?

With “middling”, I am referring to its appropriate definition, i.e. “medium, moderate or average in quality”. Thus I don’t find anything harsh in it. It pertains to the middle of extremes… intermediary, and isn’t meant to talk down on your thoughts. I apologize if you think it was offensive, but it wasn’t meant to offend.

Re: new technologies, they are alternative options to further tell stories, which means one doesn’t have to go to the cinema to watch movies. This doesn’t negate the reality that these new options bestow lesser impact. Watching John Hillcoat’s “The Road” (Viggo Mortensen) in the confines of a movie hall allowed me to dull all other distractions, and I was transported straight to a post apocalyptic abyss. To re-experience the same sensation, I watched it again on video (DVD). The experience turned out to be less encompassing. But then this can be attributable to subjectivity, as with any other artful encounters. But on a personal level, I will never choose the small screen over the singular experience of the big screen. But that’s my preference. This however won’t stop me from watching films using updated medium. My preference for the silver screen doesn’t limit my options.

I’ve loved films because I grew up enamored with these transient flickering images inside a cinema hall. I can never attribute this to my watching movies from television. To me, the small screen is second-tier entertainment. It isn’t looking down on a medium. It’s reality.

Unfortunately, I find it hard to compare cinema from theater. Though they are platforms of story telling, the pleasures derived from either are worlds apart. Theater imparts a more visceral experience. The direct effect is more real. And I’ll never be able to adequately compare watching Alan Parker’s “Birdy” with Matthew Modine and Nicolas Cage from its Westend adaptation with Rob Morrow and Adam Garcia; or even compare Stephen Daldry’s cinematic gem, “Billy Elliot” with Jamie Bell from its Broadway adaptation with Tade Biesinger. I can only make references but comparison between the two medium is a bit of a stretch. It’s like comparing a painting from a sculpture. Beautiful in their own right, but incomparable.

I am familiar with “rindi”. Like you, I have doubts of its etymological affinity with “rindido” although they are homophonic. I like the way you took note of “rinding rindi”. Makes people think.

duduy said...

well said, well put and well.. well.

no offense taken on the "middling" thing. i know the definition as it is. but just so you know, in modern context, the use of the word is often taken as pejorative. again, not that took any offense to it. just to make you think lang din. :)

Cathy Pena said...

Dang "modern context" then. ;-> Otherwise, amen to that.