Movie: Amok

"Amok" directed by Lawrence FajardoThe bustling and sweltering rugged intersection of Pasay Rotonda serves as the main setting for this story of interconnected fate and destiny.  As a raging man’s bullets strays into different directions, the fate of several different characters are sealed and determined.  As the temperature rises, the tension escalates and the story unravels with unforgiving immediacy and explodes in the end as each one struggles to survive and escape their inevitable end.

This is going to be a weird blog post, because I wasn’t able to see the first half of the movie.

Last Saturday, July 16, I was ready to spend the whole day just watching movies with my friends–and maybe taking food breaks if we have time. Except things didn’t turn out the way I planned. Early that day, I found out that you needed actual tickets to see the closing films, and not just invites from friends. And then my friend and I ran late with our early lunch, so we arrived just in time for our first movie: I-Libings–which didn’t start on time.

When we finally had time to kill, I asked if we could line up at the box office so I could buy tickets for the closing films. We had an hour and a half to spare, we thought we’d be done before we had to go to the Huseng Batute theater where Amok was going to be shown.

Except we weren’t. Because people weren’t just buying tickets at the box office–they were also asking which shows were being shown, and what schedules were still available–and while being entertained by the ticket lady, they would call their friends on the phone to tell them what films were being shown, and describing what the films were about. and, okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but they really took a long time–especially this certain group of girls who took more than thirty minutes just trying to decide which movie they want to watch.

For me, that’s what happened during the first half of Amok–because I wasn’t able to see the film, because we were in line for tickets for around two hours. Two effing hours! And the line wasn’t even that long!

My turn to buy tickets for three films took around two minutes, and that was mostly because the ticket server was lagging. Two to four minutes would be the average time for customers, to account for the server lag. And then, we were finally free to catch Amok.

We caught a verbal fight between an uncle and his nephew, a game of sort-of billiards, and then things went amok.

If you read the synopsis, which I reposted above from the Cinemalaya website, you’d already know what happened when I say “things went amok.” We didn’t know the complete story, on account of having to stay in the box office line for around two hours, but my friend and I were able to piece together the story that was being told on screen.

But more than the story, what really took my breath away was the direction of the sequences we were able to catch.

Every movement, every frame–everything had meaning. And all of them seemed painstakingly done to ensure that no other meaning would be taken from the context, other than what the director intended. Each shot conveyed meaning that was clear, even to us who weren’t able to see what happened in the first half of the film.

And the last sequence, where the film ends, had such profoundness that I don’t even know how to put down to words my feeling about it. All I could say after watching the remaining half of the film was: “beautiful.” Especially that last shot that put into perspective the amok that we have just witnessed.

I am sorry that I missed half of this film. And I am swearing now that when this gets shown in the UP-run of the Cinemalaya entries, I will do everything in my power to catch this film then.

As for the two hours of waiting in line, I have learned my lesson. Next time, I’m making sure that I buy all my tickets in advanced–and I will give the next gaggle of giggling girls a piece of my mind when they take thirty minutes calling up friends to decide which films they want to watch when they are the ones already being entertained by the ticket lady.

There’s this thing called the Cinemalaya website, as well as a printed copy of the schedule of showings. Use it. Pick the films you want to see, and the dates you can set aside for watching. Have those ready for when your time comes to talk to the ticket lady, you don’t hold up the line.

Yes, I’m still pissed.

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