Monday, May 11

Review: Ded na Si Lolo (2009)

Rating: 4

Three hundred years as a Spanish colony followed by roughly 40 years under American rule then World War II, which obliterated the physical monuments of a struggling national identity and almost crushed the spirit of a revolution-fatigued people shouldn't leave us wondering why we Filipinos have a fractured culture. Where else can you find devout Christianity and paganism co-exist in a meta-religion that equally believes in the Sto. Nino and the superstitions that dictate luck or misfortune?

Make mine a fractured culture, I say, and Ded na si Lolo is a testament to the perfection of the imperfection of Filipino culture.

Director Soxie Topacio wears his love for theater on his sleeves giving Ded na Si Lolo a cohesive structure that resembles a play. The first act introduces the five siblings and how they deal with their father's death: with over-the-top melodrama flair until one reaches (the ecstasy of) asphyxia. Joonee, the second youngest, played by the invincible Roderick Paulate, casually explains to his confused nephew that they are a family for tele-drama. Dramatics as expression. Out loud is the new loud, the only loud the family knows.

The melodrama comes into full play during the week-long wake as the siblings confront long-buried issues of rivalry and family secrets but always wisely rolling with the funny. If there's one thing that truly defines us Filipinos, it's our extraordinary sense of humor. We laugh-at and laugh-with instinctively; whatever the circumstances. Coping mechanism would be the cliche. A mutated funny gene would be cool.

A huge part of the comedy in Ded na Si Lolo is the long list of superstitions observed during a wake. No bathing. No sweeping the floors. Snipping the rosary that is wrapped around the dead's hand to break the cycle of deaths in the family. No soup-based food during the wake. And the list goes on and on. More than the superstitions, it was absurdly amusing how the family rationalized the traditions and worked their way around them.

The cast's comedic timing were spot on and one could expect nothing less from such an insanely talented cast. Old-schoolers Manilyn Reynes and Roderick Paulate effortlessly deliver most of the laughs; Paulate's baklang parlorista is greatly missed and just watching him deliver his trademark comedy already makes the movie worth watching.

Ded na Si Lolo is furiously loud, and is unashamed to be. It's simply how we celebrate life. It's how we pay tribute to love among family; it's how we tell stories of our dearly departed. It's how we say hello and say goodbye, with a chuckle under our beaths.

It's who we are, fractures and all.

Ded na Si Lolo
Directed by Soxie Topacio
Starring Dick Israel, Elizabeth Oropesa, Gina Alajar, Manilyn Reynes, Roderick Paulate, Perla Bautista, Rainier Castillo


Andy Briones said...

Sounds like a fun film! Showing pa rin ba sa Galleria?

I bought comics yesterday. It's my first since I stopped buying 10 years ago; I got the May issue of Uncanny X-Men. I was mortified; the writing was really bad. I should've listened to you and bought Captain Britain instead.

Thor Bee said...

Yes, this is still showing in Galleria. And to a full house! Hooray for this humble local film.

Haven't been getting Uncanny X-Men. Was that the one with Psylocke returning? 2 versions of her?

I got the New Mutants #1 and it was an okay read. Quite nostalgic too see the group back together. X-Force and X-Factor are better reads than Uncanny.

dodo dayao said...

Thor, nakahabol ka sa Timawa?

Meron din ata sa SM nito, yung Ded, I mean. Mapatulan nga. Nakaka-miss na din si Roderick. Estudyante ng Ermat ko si Soxy nung HS. Wala lang. Hehe.

Thor Bee said...

Hindi nga eh, late na ako nakabalik kahapon. :(

Saya nito, laugh trip! Parang ngayon lang uli nagkasama si Manilyn at Roderick since Petrang Kabayo days.

In fairness, inuna ko pa panoorin ang Ded sa Star Trek. Hehe.

dodo dayao said...

Oo naman although nauwi din ako sa Star Trek nang di oras. Sana maabutan ko pa 'to pag lumuwag na schedule ko. Wall to wall ang linggong to.

Andy Briones said...

Yup, the issue I got was the one with Psylocke. After reading it, I gave it away the following day: free of charge. That's how much I hated it, ehehe.

Manila Hot Stuff said...

Iyak tawa talaga ako sa movie na to... mas nasatisfy pa ako dito kesa sa Xmen origins na pinanood ko rin the same day.. I love Ded na si Lolo! Galing!

Thor Bee said...

MHS: I totally agree, had more fun with this than most Hollywood movie I've seen this year. Panalo talaga ang Ded na si Lolo!

Will also try to watch the other movies in the Sine Direk series. Thanks for dropping by!

Verão said...

I just saw the trailer via Facebook. It looks really hilarious! I really hope to watch it one day on a non-pirated DVD. Soxie Topacio is brilliant! And Roderick Paulate is really the best!

Thor Bee said...

Hi, Verão! Thanks for dropping by!

Yeah, this movie is such a riot! I loved it, flaws and all. Sayang, you weren't able to catch it on its theatrical run. It was also quite an experience to see an indie film playing to a full house.

Aries said...

Its not Gina Pareno, its Gina Alajar

Thor Bee said...

@Aries: Thanks for the correction.