Movie Review: Debosyon and Purok 7

Last Saturday, my partner and I watched Debosyon and Purok 7. We were also supposed to watch Porno but my work got in the way. Oh well. I need to move on.

First up is Debosyon.

Debosyon
DIRECTED BY: Alvin B. Yapan
MAIN CAST: Paulo Avelino, Mara Lopez, Ramona Rañeses, Roy B. Dominguiano

Debosyon was about “Mando, a Bikolano devotee of Ina, Virgin of Peñafrancia, Patroness of Bikolandia, [who] injures himself in the middle of the forest at the foot of the Mayon Volcano. He will be nursed back to health by a mysterious woman, Salome. They will eventually fall in love with each other. But when Mando invites her to come with him to the plains, Salome refuses, saying a curse prohibits her from leaving the forest. Salome holds a secret that will devastate Mando’s love for her. Meanwhile, Mando relies on his devotion to the Virgin of Peñafrancia to lift the curse, making him realize just how inextricably linked are the virtues of love and faith.”

Debosyon started really slow for me. I thought the part where Paulo’s character was in the forest could use a few minutes of trimming. But the visuals were great. I love how they made the forest enchanting.

There was good balance between religion and mysticism/folklore/paganism. I don’t actually know which term is more appropriate. But that was the main story of the film. How one person struggles to keep his faith and devotion to the Ina (Birheng Penafrancia) despite starting a new devotion, or obsession if you may, to a mysterious woman.

While not perfect, I appreciated the effects they used to show the mysticism in the film. And to be honest, it looked better compared to the effects of mainstream films so kudos to that.

The acting was also commendable. You could see the struggle in Paulo Avelino’s eyes. Mara Lopez was also convincing as a cursed, mysterious woman.

All in all. It was a good film except for the dragging start.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars.

DIRECTED BY: Carlo Obispo MAIN CAST: Krystle Valentino, Miggs Cuaderno, Arnold Reyes, Angeli Bayani, Julian Trono, Carlon Matobato, Sheenly Vee Gener
DIRECTED BY: Carlo Obispo
MAIN CAST: Krystle Valentino, Miggs Cuaderno, Arnold Reyes, Angeli Bayani, Julian Trono, Carlon Matobato, Sheenly Vee Gener

The next film we watched was Purok 7. I must say that this is one of my favorites this year, “Sana Dati” being the other one.

Purok 7 is a “countryside dramedy (drama-comedy) that follows 14-year-old Diana and her younger brother who live by themselves after their mother went abroad and their father lived with another woman. Set in a remote purok, where people display positive outlook in life despite daily struggles, the film features the light side of country lifestyle as the main characters take advantage of the fun and thrills of the town festival to take hold of their sweet childhood.”

I can’t help but smile while writing this. The movie was that good. And I was that attached to the film.

It was a bout two siblings in a small community awaiting news about their mother abroad. I loved how the film was presented in a lighthearted manner despite the really, dark story.

I also loved how it showed the audience the simple joys of life — perya, town fiestas, catching frogs, and having a crush.

It showed the lives of the relatives of OFWs left in the Philippines. And while the movie showed relatively shallow problems of a teenage girl, like young love, it kept on reminding you what her real problem was. How they were left to care for themselves after their father left them for another woman, and then their mother deciding to try her luck abroad. And how the community and the people around them tried to help them get by.

The movie left me thinking about who are really to blame for the fate of these kids. Was it solely their parents’ fault? Or did other people play a part in writing their future.

The acting was great, especially with the two lead actors. Considering that this was their first starring movie, they really connected to the audience. You smile when they smile, you feel sad when they cry, and you gush when you see the blush. It was actually a delight to witness the whole theater reacting with joy every time the lead girl would blush because of her crush.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. And I would love to watch it again. And again.

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