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Segunda Mano and the six other MMFF Entries

Segunda Mano in two halves: First half good, second half boring
by Lou E. Albano | Dec 29, 2011
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With Twitter abuzz with Segunda Mano-slash-Bangs Garcia positive reviews on Christmas day, there was no contest which MMFF movie to watch first. We mean: Asiong Salonga or Bangs Garci—we mean, Segunda Mano?

That said, Asiong Salonga came out the big winner last night: Eleven trophies including Best Director (a controversy, too, as director Tikoy Aguiluz had his name removed in the credits), Best Supporting Actor (kudos John Regala!), Best Screenplay, and Best Movie, to name a few. DingDong Dantes, meanwhile, won Best Actor for Segunda Mano. Woopee.

Segunda Mano is a complicated movie about ghosts and death and possession and forgiveness. In the middle of running away with her lover, Mariella (Anjelica Panganiban) feels an intense guilt trip. She decides not to push through with it, getting her lover (Watch out: Rico Blanco) tremendously angry. They fight violently. She dies. Her ghost is forever loitering around the scene, haunting the road.

Cut to: Mabel (Kris Aquino), who runs an antique shop, still living with her mother (Helen Gamboa), who has yet to move on from the disappearance of her youngest daughter aaaaages ago. Mabel feels somewhat guilty for the disappearance of said sister. Anyway, she always gets herself caught up in the rain, and in one rainy sequence, meets Ivan (DingDong Dantes).

The two ghosts—Mariella and Mabel's sister—make the first half of the movie effective. As in, bring a date and if she’s jumpy and if she likes you, she’ll be holding onto you for a good two hours. It’s Direk Joyce Bernal’s first suspense/horror and we must say, it wasn’t half as bad. Good use of music in building suspense and the cinematography is a creeper.

True to twitter word, Bangs was a show-stopper. The thing is, we aren’t sure if this is a good thing. We mean, she is good at playing the upbeat, kikay, and hardly-serious best friend but she’s the upbeat, kikay and hardly-serious best friend of a dark and desolate and Debbie-downer Kris Aquino. Somewhere, there is chemical imbalance.

While DingDong Dantes did show acting chops (can somebody write him a crazy-schizo role?), we also salute Jhong Hilario for a super convincing security guard. He owned it, is all we can say.

If you were paying any mind, we mentioned “first half of the movie” earlier. Why divide the movie, you may ask? Because somewhere between Rico Blanco’s opening performance and the end credits, you will feel a drop in excitement. Suddenly you aren’t as invested in the movie as you were in the first half. The scary scenes aren’t that scary and hey, you even catch yourself making objective observations, pointing out details that somehow don’t fit together. It ends with a whimper—a lot of copping-out for the expected resolution.

Did we feel cheated? Not so much as we felt excited for the next movie, please. That said, here is a cheat sheet for the MMFF films. You still have a week to support local cinema!


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