Movie Review: HUSTISYA
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
Hustisya is the first Cinemalaya entry of Nora Aunor penned by Ricky Lee and directed by Joel Lamangan. I watched it at Fairview Terraces last August 4 Sunday because of the excitement to see another sterling performance of Nora Aunor. From the depths of Tawi-tawi in Thy Womb to the spiritual peak of Ang Kwento ni Mabuti, this movie of Lamangan put all of us in the descent of one’s soul to hell. The hell is Manila, the corruption of people, the rat race, the dog eat dog way of life, the predator –prey relationship and the unbearable lightness of being nothing .
A Very Dark Piece of Cinema
When I watched the movie it reminded me of the movie Thirst by Park Chan Wook which was about a kind catholic priest who became a vampire and corrupted by his damned condition of being on the dark side. It reminded me of a woman named Vera Drake by Mike Leigh played brilliantly by Imelda Staunton about a simple woman who was in secret an abortionist but her evilness had banality because for her she only tried to helped the women to lift their burdens of being a single parent. It reminded me of a man named Faust who sold his soul to the devil. Hustisya is a very disturbing film with no hope to hang on but despair and being helpless. It is so heavy in its deliberation of ideas and no point of happiness to cling to.
Merits of the Movie
The movie is the best Joel Lamangan so far because there are no pretensions and you will feel that it was not made to please the audience. The acerbic and witty humor were very commendable , how we laughed at those moments where Biring made her witty and sardonic remarks. I loved the way it criticized the powerful figures of society. The cinematography was very crisp and ravishing unlike last year’s cinematography of Ang Kwento ni Mabuti which I think was not pleasing to the eyes, the cinematographer should win the best cinematography award for a job well done. The core of the movie was none other than the perfect acting of Nora Aunor. She really raised the bar of acting in movies . I loved her controlled manipulations of emotions and the used of her simple actions that made the scenes explode with excellence and profound meaning. The movie was more in the league of European cinematic style of film making.
Demerits of the Movie
The movie suffered from an uneven editing, I hoped they polish it more to make it engaging. There are under used and under developed characters like Sunshine Dizon and Jeric Semeniego Gonzales characters they seemed to be decorations and displays . The script wanted to tell many ideas which lack cohesiveness. The direction was with passion but meandered on its focus.
In conclusion Hustisya is a diamond in the rough, for me it is still a great movie but its not for easy viewing , you have to be very discerning to appreciate a film like this . Despite its flaws it still shine and a great testament to the artistry of Nora Aunor. As an educator it can be a medium to teach about the right decisions that we must make in our daily lives. A soul is a hindrance to evil because it came from the breath of God. According to Oscar Wilde - “Because to influence a person is to give him one's own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of some one else's music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him. The aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly -- that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to oneself. Of course they are charitable. They feed the hungry, and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve, and are naked. Courage has gone out of our race. Perhaps we never really had it. The terror of society, which is the basis of morals, the terror of God, which is the secret of religion -- these are the two things that govern us.”
4/5 Two Thumbs Up