Director: Gian Carlo Abrahan
Cast: Eula Valdes, Noni Buencamino, Martin del Rosario, Sandino Martin, Max Eigenmann
Dagitab has just the right amount of crazy. And by crazy, I do not just mean the actors. But as an audience, you would also go crazy with the depth of this film. I’ve watched the film twice already and until now, I haven’t fully grasped everything it wants to say. I don’t think I ever will.
Dagitab (The Sparks) is not the most talked about film for the 10th iteration of Cinemalaya. We’ll give that to Hustisya (starring Nora Aunor) and maybe #Y (starring Elmo Magalona, et al) for the younger audience. But Dagitab still sparked (pun intended) a lot of attention because it was made by the same producers of last year’s Transit, TEN17P. Transit was chosen as the Filipino entry to the Oscars. And while it was not included in the final list, Transit garnered its needed traction and attention.
Synopsis: While the marriage of two professors is on the verge of falling apart, the woman is dragged into a scandal involving a young student. On the other hand, the man falls in love with his research — a deity (supernatural being) that appears to him as the ghost of an old flame.
The whole story was intriguing and mysterious only made more powerful by the strong poetic writing. Kudos to the writers for shelling out thoughts and ideologies on love and relationships, and on being alone. Even the quiet moments of the film tells something strong and emphasizes the feeling of being alone of the characters.
Apart from the script, which was already awesome, the best asset of this film is its actors.
Eula Valdes was in her prime from this film. She gave the most amount of crazy and she brought her viewers to the core of her emotions — hurt. Her character feels lost and derailed. You would know that when she is laughing hard in a scene, she was just trying to hide the hurt. If only for the scene where her picture was being taken for her new book, Valdes could be a strong contender for the Best Actress award of the festival.
Noni Buencamino, who plays the husband of Valdes’ character, was his usual talanted self in the film. I’ve never watched a film that starred him where I was not impressed, or at the very least convinced with portrayal. In Dagitab, he played a husband constantly in search of his past love, and with that his came his search for a warrior deity. Among all the characters in the film though, I could relate to his the least. Maybe, I just don’t understand the way his character thinks. But as an audience, that adds another level of depth and mystery to the film. His character is not just obsessed with a fantastical being, but also provided the fantasy and mystery for the movie-goers.
While not the lead characters in the film, both Martin del Rosario and Sandino Martin provided their own dose of crazy to the film.
del Rosario’s character is that of a confused teenager, trying to get away with who really is by writing. There’s something in del Rosario’s eyes that tells a whole lot about his emotions. He did not need to talk. With just his stare, you can see the confusion, the longing, and the desperation that his character is feeling.
Martin probably had the least screen time among the four central characters. But enough was shown for the audience to understand what he’s feeling. The moments where he was trying his best to contain his emotions but in the end failed was sweet and sad at the same time.
One would also leave the theaters with their eyes satisfied with the cinematography of the film. There’s one scene where Valdes and del Rosario were lying on the sand with the waves around them. I couldn’t help but gush at the sight while listening to del Rosario narrating his essay piece.
The music also lent the needed push for the emotions and storytelling of the film. “Tuloy Pa Rin” was so smartly used that as audience and listener, you would give new meaning to the song’s lyrics. And suddenly, the song is not as hopeful anymore. Suddenly, you have come to accept the fact the Valdes and Buencamino are okay with how their relationship works. You have come to accept they have come to terms with their own “happiness.”
Listen to “Sparks” by Champ Lui Pio, one of the songs used in the film:
The movie is an experience for the mind. You feel their loneliness, their joy, their guilt and pity. You feel like you’re with them, but like the characters, you also feel alone. You can’t help but be in the place of all the characters. That’s the magic Dagitab brought its audience.
And with all the emotions and deep thoughts the film imparts to its viewers, it has just the right amount of crazy to make you think, and then reconsider your relationship with others — and more importantly, your relationship with yourself.