I write better when I smoke. Don’t ask me to reduce it to a science.

Ploning Shmoning

Ploning sucked. Sure the marketing reflected a bit of JJ Abrams and Judd Apatow-ish sensibility in its extensive use of blogs and other wannabe viral marketing techniques (like making various versions of the Ploning logo available, making readers choose between Ploning and a leather-clad dominatrix – wtf right?; and comparing Ploning to the Mary with the Cherry), and the movie had its own website (something I’ve never really seen for local cinema) and yes, we’ve all heard about how the producers really poured production value into this thing by shooting it on 35mm film (big whoop). But despite all that – and even despite the tortured explanations of how Ploning supposedly encapsulated the various concepts of the different kinds of love – the bottom line is that, like most pretentious works, Ploning was long on atmosphere and short on plot.

Most of the blog posts about Ploning – maybe an attempt to increase the search engine visibility of the movie’s home page – seemed to have been written by a nenyalorien, and she sure gushed about the movie. So, in the interest of fairness, here’s her take on it, together with mine.

Juday’s amazing acting. Here, she was absolutely fluid, absolutely seamless. This is her transition from the old Mara Clara and Wowie de Guzman-era persona to the amazing woman that she is. I was entranced, amazed, floored, riveted to her allure, her subtle allure and beauty that unfolded in her fluid movements, in the generosity that her character displayed, in this regal bearing that made you feel that whom Juday was playing there was analogous to her real-life character.

Judy Ann was amazing. Amazingly bad, that is. What fans may consider her subtle and regal performance was actually more like her impression of a deer getting caught in the headlines, alternating with saccharine Mona-Lisa type smiles. Only once did I actually see real emotion in her face: when she told Celeste that Celeste’s Tomas was a different person from her (Ploning’s) absent Tomas. At that moment, Judy Ann’s acting chops took center stage as if she had forgotten for a moment that she was making an indie film but a movie that needed actual story-telling.

The cinematography was just divine. Made possible by the same company who were part of Crying Ladies and Santa Santita, I need not wonder anymore. I have yet to watch Crying Ladies, but Santa Santita surely was phenomenal for me. But more phenomenal than Santa Santita was Ploning, in my personal opinion.

Nenyalorien’s hardsell notwithstanding, some of the cinematography was very nice. A lot of the angles and stuff could have been thought-out better, but the set pieces – like sunsets and lit lamps in the dusk – were respectable.

The acting of Cedric Amit, the boy who plays Digo, Ploning’s adorable foster son. I may not like normal-weight kids that much, but Digo was just a darling!

Amit was mediocre. There was no depth to his acting, nor any nuance to anything he did. He was a kid who had memorized his lines and his blocking, nothing else. Oh, but dear me! What was I thinking comparing him to Dakota Fanning or Anna Paquin or Haley Joel Osment?

Ms. Gina Pareño still manages to get you to grab the edge of your armrest. She is still ever so riveting, with a screen performance that is unparalleled … Gina Pareño’s tour de force scene to end all scenes paralleled “Walang Himala” of Nora Aunor that would have you praising God for creating minds like Direk Dante Nico Garcia’s, BJ Lingan’s, Jourdan Sebastian’s, or Guia Gonzales’. Or even creating an actress like Ms. Gina Pareño.

Yes, Pareno did make me grab my armrest … to heave myself out of the chair and leave the theater. She was strictly vaudevillian in this. Why is it that Filipinos often equate volume and vehemence with quality? Because what is being praised here as a tour de force, was actually just a function of decibels: she was screaming at God while alternately clutching at melting salt and slapping the palms of her hands on mud. Puh-leeze. That was hammy acting. Nora Aunor in Himala was shouting at a crowd, trying to make herself heard. What was Pareno’s excuse for her hysteria?

And have you ever noticed how the “Ms.” is used as an honorific in Philippine showbiz? It’s like the only time you merit a “Ms.” is when you’re either old or diva-ish.

The beauty of Cuyo is just… It makes you realize there arel patches of paradise in the Philippines, indeed.

Absolutely true.

Meryll Soriano was superb as the simpleton Alma.

She was not superb. She was ok. But she wasn’t a simpleton either. They may have wanted her to be one – or to convince the audience with repeated references to how she only talked to her radio that she was one – but Soriano certainly didn’t seem like a simpleton. The word I would use is naive. Especially after her bit of dialogue about believing in her husband unconditionally.

Mylene Dizon’s role as a jaded city girl on her journey to reformation was pulled off with such excellence that I actually hated her for… Er, five seconds. Then as she started showing her inner need of being accepted, and as she grew into a real relationship with Ploning, I started… Liking her. For a viewer to be moved to feel real emotions about a movie character, you’d know the actress is GOOD!

If you hated her for five seconds and started loving her after that, she wasn’t a good actress – you just had a wrong first impression. And Dizon’s character showed no need for acceptance until almost the last third of the movie when revelations about her vulnerability all came tumbling out of the narrative. In fact, the treatment of the nurse’s story pretty much reflected the whole pace of the movie. The first 2/3rds of the movie was laid back and artsy; the last third brought a flurry of flashbacks and flashforwards and a veritable torrent of explanations as to why characters had done certain things and not others. It was a sloppy attempt to mimic the storytelling of Atonement – one of the saddest movies I’ve ever watched – that was obviously motivated by the need to finish the movie within the last 20 minutes of running time. For those of you who read books more than watch movies, think Clive Barker. 435 pages of build-up and set-up, and the last 35 pages crammed to the scuppers with plot resolutions and everything else needed to finish the book within the maximum page-count.

Other than that, Mylene Dizon’s acting was flat. Like she used to be before that boob job.

Tessie Tomas is lovely as the old Celeste: light-hearted, engaging, retaining the younger Celeste’s flirtatiousness and feistiness, yet her character is underscored with the gentleness that comes from being tempered with time.

No. She was hammy. Like a female William Shatner. Or how a weather reporter would act if she were a cashew nut entrepreneur.

Eugene Domingo and Ces Quesada also gave wonderful performances, excellent actresses as they are; Ketchup Eusebio is endearingly irritating

Eugene spent most of the time on her back. Her only bit of acting was when her son Digo asked her when she would die. And even then, it looked like she was too busy willing her nose not to drip as she did the silent weeping bit. Ces was bland, going from one airy speech about life to another. Ketchup was stupid, and his relationship with Mou Sei was stupidly written anyway. One minute, he’s practically begging him for some warmth, and the next, he’s comfortable enough with him to touch his head? Come on.

Amazing talent discoveries: Boodge Fernandez as Muo Sei was the most remarkable breakout star in the bunch (and I’m not talking about the washboard abs, okay?!). He had this ironic quirkiness and adorability at the same time. To me, he was like Forrest Gump with a mild Colin Farrell undertone; Ogoy Agustin, who plays Veling (Digo’s brother), gave an intense performance worthy of an acting award. Seriously. I actually wondered if he had a theater background!

Fernandez as Muo Sei was brooding quiet most of the time. He did not perform; he was just present. When he finally did some acting, it was to act clownish with Ketchup – totally at odds with his initial portrayal as an angry young man, frustrated by an inability to find what he was looking for. And the only reason he would remind anyone of Forrest Gump is when you realize that he’s looking just as retarded.

Agustin, on the other hand, only really showed his chops when he wailed about his mother’s death, and the extent of his craft was looking like the weeping mask in those weeping-mask/smiling-mask representations of theater.

Tony Mabesa gave a moving performance. And his scene is the biggest reason I deem that Ploning the movie was AMAZING.

No. Tony Mabesa sucked. An old geezer like him, you’d think he’d have enough respect for his craft to try to learn to speak a foreign language as though he were a native. He never did. He spoke cuyonon word for word, having obviously just memorized individual words. Worse, he often slipped into a Tagalog accent. After all the expense the producers went through to make this movie, you think they could have just spent for acting workshops for local talent to support Judy Ann. Locals would have at least aided the suspension of disbelief by actually talking like Cuyonons, instead of condescending Manilans.

All in all, Ploning scored high on the cinematography and maybe the art direction. But it totally bombed in the acting department. Even Judy Ann – normally a good actress – seemed t0o burdened by the need to make this movie subtle and flowing and organic (and whatever the new buzzword in indie films) is to turn in a good performance.

The crux of Ploning’s terribleness, however, is not the acting. Even acted by morons, King Lear would still be tremendously enjoyable. Ploning’s problem lay at the very heart of the movie: its storytelling. The narrative is confused, the point-of-view jumps from one person to another with nothing to offset the jarring shifts, and the premise is intrinsically weak. I suppose that’s what happens when you obviously don’t set out to actually tell a story but to film a series of gorgeous set-pieces and simply use the story as an excuse to string them together into an hour and a half movie. To be perfectly frank, that’s how they do porn films too.

About the only thing I appreciate about Ploning is that it isn’t about sex or homosexuality or poverty or crime. This is significant since the producers – the grandiosely named Panoramanila (shades of Walter Mitty) – seem bent on shopping this around to various filmfests. If they succeed, then they will at least show that there are more people in the Phlippines than poverty stricken man-whores preying on rich and unsuspecting homosexuals and lonely old ladies. That’s a good consolation prize for when they realize they haven’t really showcased Filipino storytelling skills.


Filed under: movies, pop-culture,

81 Responses

  1. BrianB says:

    What’s that movie with that Chinese girl from that movie?

    I agree that the storyline is a bit of fresh air. The casting is terrible, though. Someone that will ht the screen with effective irony – Anne Curtis (?) – would’ve been better.

  2. polaris says:

    another hater… tsktsk…

    nakagawa ka na ba ng pelikula?
    may alam ka ba talaga tungkol sa film?
    graduate ka ba ng film course?
    film scholar ka ba?
    nakapanuod ka na ba ng filipino classics?
    o baka naman puro hollywood lang ang alam mo?
    pinoy ka ba?
    o nagkataon lang na pinanganak ka sa pilipinas?
    infairness ang KJ mo kasi…
    sumoporta ka naman…
    buti nga may mga nagmamalasakit pa na subukang buhayin ang industrya…
    tapos hater ka pa… wag naman…
    kung wala kang masabing makakatulong sa industya, wag ka nalang magsalita…

    sana wag ka na maging hater… ang dami niyo na kasi sa mundo… maiba ka naman sana…

  3. polaris says:

    btw, kaya ganun ang story telling kasi non-linear ang editing… i dont like non-linear pero naintindihan ko yung kwento… btw, alam mo ba ang non-linear editing? tanung ko lang…

  4. shiro says:

    hmm… can you answer your own questions?

  5. rom says:

    polaris: welcome to the smoking room. hinga ka malalim.

  6. AMIRAH says:

    ung mga aniinggit diyan sa movie na PLONING tanga na ignorante sobra!!! abay kung wala kayong magawa sa buhay nyo ibig sabihin worthless na kayo sa mundo dapat na kayong ma delete ika nga SA CIRCULATION bwa ha ha

  7. Quasha says:

    after ALL of that useless blahblahblah…
    you proved to simply just NOT get the film, and nothing more

    This ‘review’, starting with “Ploning sucked,” seems more like electronic diarrhea by someone who has no purpose than an actual collation of opions and observations that substantiate a piece good enouigh to put out there. You sound like you merely picked some topic-of-the day to practice your writing skills on. You also sound like someone who doesn’t even understand the film medium.

    As a filmmaker, I personally thought Ploning could be better too, but it still stands to be one of this year’s best efforts at Philippine feature filmmaking. We should all be thankful that there are still producers who strive to make such pieces that contibute to Filipino film– both as an art form and an industry. It is quite a MIRACLE when such a balance is acheived, and moreso when it is acheived INDEPENDENTLY, in the feature category of film– a feat you obviously don’t comprehend to be very difficult, and extremely brave.

    As a writer, i say :
    1) I am so sorry for you because you are wasting your potential.

    2)Shame on you for aimlessly bashing ANYTHING of this sort. You not only disrespect the arts, but also cause the “BLOG” to be an invention wasted.

    3) I encourage you to acquire some respect for yourself and go practice your writing on something more edifying, because, like your handle, that’s all that this is: useless and unwanted SMOKE.

  8. rom says:

    Amirah / Quasha: Welcome to the smoking room! To each his own opinion, of course. But about causing “the ‘BLOG’ to be an invention wasted”? I don’t suppose you’ve heard that the “INTERNET” is a free forum for ideas and opinions. And as far as I’m concerned, as long as I don’t try to stifle anyone’s right to express herself *wink-wink*, i’m not wasting the “BLOG invention.”

  9. blogito says:

    hahaha link bait… adsense… ayun… this is what makes the world go round, right?

    how *low* can u get? one of the oldest tricks on the book bwahhahaha. madami ka pang bigas na kakainin ‘tol… praktis ka pa n00b

    As for the Ploning, critic the movie for what it’s worth. You just critic a critic of the movie. What a cheap cheap shot 😉

  10. BrianB says:

    Polaris, quasha, blogito,

    Can you agree that at least that Judy Ann was a mis-cast?

  11. rom says:

    blogito: welcome to the smoking room. i guess you haven’t noticed, I don’t run adsense. 🙂 and you only think I only critiqued a critique. 😀

  12. Initially, as I was reading this piece, I felt a little sting of a hurt ego and what-not. But then I did realize something:

    1) I think I picked up way too much of hard sell writing techniques in my stint as a product reviewer of Glad I left months ago.

    2) I think I’m too bubbly for my own sake. But that’s credited to the fact that when I appreciate something, I appreciate it to the hilt.

    3) Is it a crime to be optimistic?

    4) Is it a crime to be positive?

    Since you woke me up to the fact that my writing needs a lot of polishing (I’ve been realizing it for weeks now), then please be more prudent with throwing your rotten tomatoes. I’m going back to college to take Journ classes; I graduated with Psych under my belt.

    Here is what I’ll concede: There were some awkward scenes at the start of the movie, owing to the stunted Chinese and stunted Cuyonon. But you can’t deny that the movie, in its entirety, sears your very soul…

    Unless your heart is made of marble, that is.

    And no, Juday was not miscast. Anne Curtis would have given the character a different air. Juday was perfect.

    Thanks for being honest. 🙂


  13. And you do have to cut Panoramanila Pictures Co. some slack, it’s their first movie after all.

    And it’s my first foray into showbiz too.

    Wish everyone on earth could be nice. :p

  14. rom says:

    Lorie: welcome to the smoking room. please don’t get me wrong. what i wrote about the movie was my reaction to the movie and how it was marketed. Now if you’re saying that you are totally not connected with the movie’s buzz-making team, then I won’t call your writing hard-sell. But if you are, well, hard-sell is what it was.

    it’s amazing that a movie can actually gain such an adherent as you, willing to defend it and all. I applaud you for that, but I’m afraid I’m going to have stand by what I’ve written.

    The movie was clumsily made, on the whole, poorly acted, and the story was so nebulous, it might as well have been a series of vignettes instead of a true narrative. This, despite the fact that my heart is not made of marble, whatever others might like to think. It’s just that I don’t think a movie should be concerned only with making viewers weep. It should, first and foremost, entertain – not just the shallow kind of entertainment either, but to really challenge the mind and force it to see things from different perspectives. Ploning, unfortunately, does neither.

    I, however, agree that Judy Ann was the only one who could have played Ploning. Ann Curtis is simply too … 2 dimensional … and certainly lacks the capacity for stillness that Judy Ann has. I am, in fact, sad that Ploning turned out so bad (in my view, anyway).

    As for cutting Panoramanila slack, I don’t think so. Why should I? Why should anybody? In fact, that whole coddling mentality is prolly the reason many of our local products – from mangoes to movies – suffer from chronic mediocrity. We are too quick to award praise and gushing enthusiasm simply by virtue of the fact that it’s “Pinoy” or something. They end up self-satisfied and then good-luck trying to make them do better.

    I think that precisely because it is Pinoy, it must be subjected to the harshest and fairest criticism possible to push them to improve and be everything they can be. If they can’t take criticism, if they can’t rise above a negative review and do better next time, then they have no business competing in the creative marketplace.

    Thank you also for your honesty. And if wishes were fishes, we’d all be pope.

  15. yves says:

    BOOO for you owner of this smoking room. Might be SAD living in your world full of gloom, doom and negativity. I think it’s YOU who needs some “hinga ng malalim”. Cheer up! 🙂

    Kudos to nenyalorien for watching with her heart. Too bad, hindi nabibili ang heart!

  16. me says:

    “deer getting caught in the headlines”

    it’s deer getting caught in the headLIGHTS, genius.

  17. Rom says:

    Me: and its called deadpanning a pun, moron. As in a deer caught in the glare of the headlines the movie is desperately trying to make. But that one flew right over yer head, didnt it?

  18. Rom says:

    Yves: Hating a movie is negativity? LOL

  19. stephen says:

    i believe in the freedom of speech, but i believe also in the RESPONSIBILITY of being a blogger! your critique is all smoke and hate. the points weren’t all valid and they deemed to be…uhmmm unintelligent. Ploning may not be a perfect movie but its much much better than the recent Filipino movies shown. there’s one thing to critique or review a film but to nitpick unintelligently and senselessly is not critique-ing!

  20. shiro says:

    now you went and done it luv, i guess politics is for a select crowd but a lot more people seem to have a say when it comes to entertainment. 😛

    and to all of ploning’s rahrah brigade: what’s the big deal with cruising the blogosphere trying to beat people in one homogenous mass that cries out “ploning is amazing!” uh no, if you want something like that, then stay off the internet. stop lambasting the last place of free expression on the planet.

    start up your own blog and write your own pieces of fawning admiration. m’kay?

  21. Rom says:

    Stephen: welcome to the smoking room. I really dont undrstand why its such a big deal that Ploning is better than other filipino movies. It doesnt matter, because a work shld stand on its own, and not on the weakness of its contemporaries.

    shiro: i guess i hit a raw nerve. 😀

  22. the reason why i defended it so adamantly is the fact that it is significant to Christianity in general. i guess you didn’t understand it for the same reason that the Jews’ hearts were hardened for Jesus.

    that’s basically it.

    the thing is, you really can’t make a donkey speak unless you’re God. and neither can you let a person understand who Christ is, unless the heart is open.

    you’re right, “if wishes were fishes.” the thing is, you’re not a “fish” yet. and while not everyone can be a pope, everyone can get to know and fall in love with Jesus… if his/her heart is open.

    i’m sorry that i felt the need to defend myself and my craft, as always. it’s always been a source of pride for me. thank you for your post, it challenged my faith, it challenged how i viewed my so-called “talents” and made me realize how inadequate i am and how I need to work on whatever i have.

    the only reason why I hard-sell this is that I believe in the movie. If you take note of my previous posts, I wasn’t so sure I believed in the movie either.

    Only as I watched it and as the tears won’t stop from falling did I realize why the team went through so much just for this. And I can say that it was all worth it.

    Perhaps this movie will not be significant for you years from now, but to those whose hearts will be opened because of this, it will be.

    The thing is, Jesus said, “Behold I stand at the door and knock.” He is a gentleman and He would not force himself to a barred heart.

    “It” was not just a movie, Rom. That’s why it elicited such a reaction from me.

    I’m a girl who’s choosy about the movies she watches. If it moves me, there may well have been something there that moved me.

    I think that I would have made the same comments you’ve made a year ago. I guess the difference between you and me is the kind of angle we view the world from.

    But as for casting Juday…..

    I’m glad we finally agree on something. 🙂

    For the rest of it, I guess we shall have to agree to disagree.

    I hope the other Ploning supporters declare a ceasefire too. 🙂

    Coz on my end, I’ve resolved that I’ve said what I needed to say on this matter. 🙂

    (And I don’t believe in the pope either. :p)

  23. rom says:

    lorie: well, there you go. you were part of the buzz-making machine. That explains the hardsell.

    On a related note, I wondered why this discussion suddenly became about Jesus and why I was suddenly a hard-hearted Jew. And then I read that you wrote this:

    I started to wonder, is this movie THAT important to God that Satan would want to thwart it every step of the way?

    I was like … m’k. Good thing God loves me even if I don’t love this movie.

  24. BrianB says:


    I get you. I. myself, am constantly inundated by sexual temptation and fear of my woman succumbing to sexual temptation (to me, and before she takes her pill, that is).

    And can you people please admit that Judy Ann Santos was a Miscast!

  25. polaris says:

    im a masscomm student, and film is particularly my forte… and kahit alam kong maraming kalabuan sa industya naniniwala parin ako na may pagasa pa dahil may mga taong nagsusumikap buhayin ang kultura natin sa paggawa ng mga pelikula…

    hindi ako film scholar pero nagaaral ako tungkol sa film, nanunuod ako ng hollywood movies at filipino classics, at hindi pirated ang copies ko… alam ko rin ang nonlinear editing, hindi ako magsasalita ng words na hindi ko alam ang meaning…

    at may malasakit ako sa mga gumawa ng pelikula na ‘to… at hindi ko tinanung ang mga bagay bagay na yun sa una kong comment para sagutin mo o sagutin ko… tinanung ko un para magisip ka kung karapat dapat kang manghusga ng ganun ganun nalang… “those who judge others condemn themselves of doing the same thing.”

  26. shiro says:


    okay, now i get you. you were part of the project and i respect that. it’s not everyday one can find something to be totally passionate about. and yet, you and the team probably knew that the film would not go down well with everyone.

    i’m a little more forgiving than rom. i saw the film as a step away from the senseless local drek that floods the big screen. a small step, but a step nonetheless. 🙂


    yeah, Judy Ann is a miscast… there was something… off, about her.


    you speak as if the only people who are entitled to judge the film are those who’ve made one. or who are avid fans of film. or who have only something good to say about Ploning… you see what i’m getting at?


    i’ve a Voltaire quote for you: Qui plume a, guerre a. fight on, luv. 🙂

  27. PloningFriend says:

    while i find the review a bit brutal and peppered with enough personal vitriol to make it broadsheet-unsavory, it is unfortunately (for Ploning) on the mark…for the most part.
    I did find the cinematography breathtaking but then I’m a Peralta fan so i might be a tad biased. I agree with you on most of your performance assessments but watching it and remembering how I felt while watching it, I have to disagree with you on Juday’s acting. I’ve seen most of her films and I suppose the fact that she’s overtly trying something new was refreshing enough for me to overlook the…overt part. So that’s a …. hybrid +/-critique? Lol. As for some of the awkward shots, I saw them too but forgave most as the necessary…rites of passage…of a first time director who may have been overwhelmed at the notion of mounting reality through a lens which is something all rookie directors go through. So I do give Dante Garcia some slack for that, especially when I consider that he didn’t have the luxury of being advised by seasoned producers (about anything) nor the budget to have pick-ups or reshoots (as a 1st time director would have in a studio).

    I totally agree with you on the storytelling–

    which, dearest Lorie, HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH NON LINEAR EDITING for crying out loud–

    because it was somewhat …messy. It was overly playful which revealed an earnest yes, but nonetheless insecure script. Regrettable too because I thought the core premise was compelling enough and rich enough potentially, to have benefitted from a straight flowing, no frills/time interlocking/rashomon ambitious narrative style.

    But my favorite bit reading all the reactions following your…critique, I mean, is the part about not giving newbie producers slack simply because they’re new or happen to be earnestly good people with the best of intentions. I wholeheartedly agree with you.

    So I say to the haters of legitimate CRITICS– and please note the correct usage of this spelling–

    we should all as artists learn to take the good with the bad graciously and gracefully. Stop telling the public how to react. Whenever you stoop to personal insults or question someone’s credentials to measure the worth of their opinion–you do your industry/artistry/craft/whatnot a great disservice. ALL opinions and ALL reactions to ANY art form is valid. And that is what makes what we do as artists worthwhile. To shun negativity is not always a good thing. If eveything is positive and everything is great–then by default nothing would be positive and nothing would be great. Think about it.

    Everytime we bravely put someting on the table for public consumption, we must understand that part of the glorious feeling of fulfillment that comes with the effort of putting something on the table in the first place, is that element of excited uncertainty if everyone will find it palatable or not. Such is the very definition of a risk. The producers with their overflowing hearts took a risk. Now to complete their experience/journey as first timers in the industry they must learn to deal with the sometimes unavoidable, proverbial shit in the fan, wipe it clean and try again.

  28. PloningFriend: I never mentioned anything technical. I get lost when people say “linear” and “nonlinear” editing.

    Well I did realize one thing: it’s hard to have too much of heart in a free world. It’s bound to get skewered sometime. :p

  29. Ricky Gallardo says:


    Impressed with your thoughts about the movie. Please email me at where I can get in touch with you asap.

    Many thanks.Rix

  30. rom says:

    lorie: i’m sure you’re a really cool person, and since you’re a judy ann fan, do you remember that line she kept on repeating in one movie? pa-victim?

    no one is skewering your heart, luv. not on this blog at least.

  31. lee says:

    You’re pseudo-intellectualism could almost pass up as a genuine intelligent criticism. However, I doubt your credibility as you have not done your research. Get you facts straight. Oh I forgot, even Vareity does such bashing sometimes.
    (like making various versions of the Ploning logo available, making readers choose between Ploning and a leather-clad dominatrix – wtf right?;
    WTF right! Have you heard about “design studies”? Studies are not final and they are not for the readers to choose from. They are intended only for the director and producers feedback only.
    Did you miss reading this? Mag-isip ka nga.
    “Logo design studies *para lamang sa feedback ateng bugtitinay… For feedback only! (Keep them coming as we will need them to refine the designs) ;)”

  32. rom says:

    lee: welcome to the smoking room. the reaction you’re reacting so violently to was for the popularity contest between a Ploning-type and a dominatrix. Assuming that you understood that and complained anyway, I’m going to have to assume further that you see nothing weird with that. Well, I do.

    i have nothing against your design studies. but i also have no qualms about pointing out that asking for public feedback is also a marketing tool. As for that “intended for the directors and producers only” line, puh-leeze. I found it, didn’t I? Which means that it’s pretty open to the public. And if it’s open to the public, it’s fair game for comment.

    I guess now it’s your turn to think eh? Before you shoot from the hip.

  33. lee says:

    “Director and the producers” who has to give the go signal… (it’s public since not all of them are in my contact list) so they can access to the files. (i’m only talking about the design studies and not the movie)

    and of course there are the unsolicited comments, afterall it’s a free world and everyone has the right to comment. And if it’s your choice to diss everything, it’s your choice and no one will stop you.

    I’m not reacting violently. I assume that this is the nature of the game. Actually, I have to thank you because this maybe a way for everyone to critically assess things before judging. I’m in for the freedom of speech.

  34. BrianB says:

    Meh, I’m looking forward to a screenplay-driven film rather than a cinematography-driven one like Ploning. Poor filmmakers should focus on getting a good screenplay on screen first before they dabble with complex cinematography. And don’t tell me cinematography is part of film, that’s not what I mean. I mean the heavy-handed kind, and looks like Ploning is that kind.

  35. BrianB says:


    It’s not about Christianity. It’s about PASSIVITY and the tragedy that this passivity in Plonng will be taken by many people as a study in virtue and not as tragedy.

  36. The Pageman says:

    Hi Rom,

    I hope more critics will critique the way you do 🙂

    I agree with you that Ploning has to stand on its own – warts and all.

    BrianB: Judy Ann can’t be miscast because Dante conceptualized the movie based on her. They’ve been discussing this movie for 8-9 years already.

    I would comment more but lunch beckons.

  37. OLI says:

    Interesting review… I’m wondering why your review is far different from the views of movie critics like Nestor Torre and Mario Bautista. Parang ibang pelikula ang pinanood nyo.

  38. rom says:

    OLI: Welcome to the smoking room. Why is my review different? Lemme see …. maybe because everyone sees things differently? maybe because i don’t let my opinions be dictated upon by other people, just as i don’t expect other people’s opinions to be dictated upon by mine? … now, i’m wondering: why does it even matter that I don’t share their views?

  39. jb says:

    people have said it, and i’ll say it again: your comments on this movie are way too harsh. granted, ploning has its flaws, but try a little perspective. watch tatarin, exodus, or any of the mano po movies, then you tell me what miscasting and bad storytelling is all about.

  40. BrianB: siguro kasi hindi mo alam yung background nung pelikula at nung apat na nagconceptualize niyan. Kilalanin mo sila at ang Person na mahal nila, para malaman mo why I said that it’s about Christianity.

    I pray that scales will fall from the eyes of everyone who passes by this post.

  41. cvj says:

    I agree with Rom that if we want to come up with world class films, then we should not treat the filmakers with kid gloves. I imagine that Cannes or whatever other film festival venue will be more relentless.

    With the few local films i watched, i believe that our actors and actresses can hold their own against their international counterparts. It’s in the area of telling good (as in varied and not cliche) stories that we lag behind.

  42. BrianB says:

    “Kilalanin mo sila at ang Person na mahal nila, para malaman mo why I said that it’s about Christianity.”

    You’re a narrow-minded person. The background of the people behind the film is not important. It’s the film we’re watching. Paki-alam ko kung ano ang intention nang mga creators. Kung hindi nila naconvey ito eh kasalanan nila yan.

    At dito lang ata sa Pilipinas na ang Christianity ibig sabihin eh “celibacy” o virgin ka. Obsessed tayo sa sex. Pari obsessed sa sex. Maraming mga pinapatay at nagnanakaw, sex parin focus nila.

    Tanungin mo mga prostitute. Pag sinabing Roman Catholic, ibig sabihin naughty yan. Pag protestant at Muslim mabaiit at hindi gumagamit nang prosti.

    At wag kang masyadong fundamentalist. Tumingin ka sa paligid mo at sa ibang Katliko sa ibang bahagi nang mundo.

  43. lesly says:

    rom: I believe you and I respect your opinion about Ploning. Although for me, your words are still too harsh man. hehe!

    and to you Lorie:

    1. Stop equating/ relating Ploning reviews or the movie itself to Christianity. You’re being unfair and like what BrianB said, narrow minded.

    2. Stop telling the viewers to give the filmmakers some slack because it’s their first film or bec. again they are Christians. I judge the film, basing on what they presented to me in the last 1 1/2 hrs. that I sat in the Cinema… regardless of all the hard work they’ve been through or who they are, honestly dear… I DON’T CARE.

    3. I don’t think it’s proper also, to put your thoughts at the Ploning website. I know it’s your site but hey girl your being too defensive!

    As for me, I strongly believe that the screenplay was poorly written and poorly executed. I don’t feel any nostalgia at all. I won’t go into details anymore bec. a lot was said already.

    Although despite all these flaws, I still believe that Ploning is a promising film. A risk taker, I just hope they take criticism as a challenge to make a better one next time. 🙂

  44. joeysthing says:

    Please see my review in Ploning…

    It is nice to hear a critical essay such as this one….a critique within a critique

    a friend told me about your blog and after reading it…i felt we were on the same direction seeing Ploning for more improvements and quality decision makings with the cinematic elements…

  45. Manny Hanny says:

    Hey, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. This is a blog site, and if the blog owner thought Ploining sucked, then it sucked. It seems the filmmaker has and army of defense bloggers tasked with taking down every dissenting view. We don’t ALL have to love the movie. When you say we should support a movie — it shouldn’t be BLIND support. Heck, we watched it didn’t we? We paid for our movie ticket, right? But that doesn’t mean we have no critical thoughts about. It doens’t mean we have to keep quiet about what we think. That’s not the way to improve the business, or to elevate the film going experience in this country. If you want better films, better story lines, and more thoughtful writing — then everyone needs to be more critical.

    The worse thing we can do to ourselves is to practice silence and mediocrity.

  46. Manny Hanny says:

    Hey, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. This is a blog site, and if the blog owner thought Ploining sucked, then it sucked. It seems the filmmaker has and army of defense bloggers tasked with taking down every dissenting view. We don’t ALL have to love the movie. When you say we should support a movie — it shouldn’t be BLIND support. Heck, we watched it didn’t we? We paid for our movie ticket, right? But that doesn’t mean we have no critical thoughts about the film. It doens’t mean we have to keep quiet about what we think. That’s not the way to improve the business, or to elevate the film going experience in this country. If you want better films, then everyone needs to be more critical.

    The worse thing we can do to ourselves is to practice silence and perpetuate mediocrity.

  47. BrianB says:


    film critics should really stop using the phrase mise en scene, man. It’s just depressing. The phrase is not really that acceptable in other parts of the world – at least, they use it for different meanings. I’m not saying the phrase lacks legitimacy, but it’s pretty damned useless.

  48. Eunice says:

    Thanks for posting your opinion. I’ve read so many positive reviews of Ploning and this is a breathe of resh air. I would like to say couple of things though…

    There are a lot of good and bad bits in the movie but I wouldn’t say that it sucked

    Not because I was touched, nor because I kind of related most of my sentiments with some of the scenes…

    Non-linear flow is best appreciated at the end (obviously, because we’re all supposed to connect everything in the end don’t we?), and I did. The casting was just… shocking to say the least. My friends and I almost laughed out loud when Tessie Tomas appeared and we all had fun betting on who would be acting the older Ploning.

    Gina Pareño’s boldness in her acting is just admirable. Risking to just act as how any real person would err.. act is what she did and I admire her for that. Can you imagine yourself raving at Him and still look and sound theatrical? No, I think not.

    Judy Ann’s acting for me is just appropriate. That was what she had to do wasn’t it? Ploning never really showed that much emotion. That was Juday’s role. So I think she is STILL an amazing actress.

    Cinematography was amazing and although I tried with all my might to stay disconnected and feel nothing for this film, I would say I still like it.

    I will keep this post of yours (and your opinion in mind as I make my own review of this film, which I had to pass due monday) because it’s very helpful. Again, thanks for your post. I think I may visit your blog again for yet, another interesting post.

  49. The Pageman says:

    @Manny Hanny we got you the first time – what’s with the double post? 😛

  50. Manny Hanny says:

    Sorry about that. My computer froze after I hit post, and when I refreshed the page, I got a double posting. I couldn’t find the delete option. My bad, Pageman.

  51. rom says:

    Eunice: Welcome to the smoking room. I respect your opinion about Gina Pareno, of course. But since you asked, how about Al Pacino when his daughter(?) was shot in Godfather III? Besides, if anything, Gina Pareno’s performance had too much theatricality. Vaudevillian, in fact; too much melodrama.

  52. rom says:

    Manny Hanny: don’t worry about it, guy. 😀

  53. jona says:

    just to add to the fray, i watched ploning because i was curious about it, and while i didn’t come out of the theater screaming for my money back and wishing i had just spent the time sleeping, i’d have to say i mostly agree with your critique.

    mylene dizon’s acting was shallow, gina pareño overacted like crazy, boodge fernandez was stiff and tessie tomas looked like she thought she was still hosting teysi ng tahanan.

    i like the twist about tomas though.

  54. jun-jun says:

    @polaris di nya kailangan malaman ang ibig sabihin ng non-linear editing para makapagsabi kung ang pelikula ay maganda o hindi. idioto. kahit sinong moron na me access sa computer at marunong pumunta sa greenhills o mcs at bumili ng pirated version ng kung anumang video editing software ay pdeng matutunan yan. wag mo kaming pasiklaban ng estupido mong nalalaman sa production.

  55. jun-jun says:

    tama si manny…

    kayong mga tagagawa ng peilikula, wag kayong pikon. kung gusto nyong ang manonood sa pelikula nyo ay well-versed sa lahat ng aspeto ng cinema, at film appreciation at pdeng tumapat sa mga intellectual posturings nyo, eh wag kayo magimbita ng ibang tao sa pelikula nyo! e di kayo kayong mga kapwa filmmakers ang magpanooran ng mga pelikula nyo. at malamang pagkatapos parepareho kayo magaapir at maghihimasan ng mga egos.

    kaming mga walang alam sa pelikula ay madaming ibang pdeng pagkaabalahan tulad ng paglalaba at pagpapakyut sa istarbucks!

  56. […] if it is? Seriously. If anybody ever needed a new script, it’s Gonzales. He should prolly get Ploning’s scriptwriter too. That way, he’ll speak little and then only in […]

  57. BrianB

    That’s the thing. I’m neither a Catholic nor a Virgin. Probably a miscast of Society?

    Hahaha. You decide.


  58. BrianB

    Isa pa, kung nanood ka, makikita mo…

    Na hindi rin virgin si Ploning.


    Haynaku. Anlabo. Di ko tuloy alam kung sino mas makitid utak.


  59. Arch D says:

    I would have regarded this review as authentic, opinionated, and brave – but you had me at the word “sucked”.

    I understand how the commercial viewer would not appreciate the storytelling of this movie. Sure this is not the best, but this has got to be among the most solid and interesting films of the year.

    The cinematography is it’s best. The acting is not flawless, but definitely not bad. Whoever says that scenes like the gathering of salt is meaningless is surely not a big fan of dramas, or movies for that matter.

    By the way, not that I you wanted to know or I wanted to show, I am a Film major at UP Diliman. Just so you know what I am talking about.

    And I am not a Juday fan.

  60. rom says:

    Arch D: Why do you write “commercial viewer” with such …. contempt? You sound like those lawyers who go, “you don’t understand this because you’re not a lawyer.” Hahaha. That’s ridiculous.

    First off, this movie was intended for the broader audience, not some incestuous little group of auteurs or even film majors with aspirations to auteur-ship; this movie was put out there for a paying – hence, a commercial audience, Arch. Don’t forget that. So it begs the question, why make it so nebulous and almost impossible for the commercial audience to appreciate (as you say)?

    Is it because the producers wanted to uplift the taste and sensibilities of the ‘commercial’ viewer, perhaps? Who the fuck died and appointed auteurs (or those with pretensions) the arbiter of good taste? You put out a work like this and you wait for it to be praised or panned. If it’s praised, good for you and your crew. If it’s panned, suck it up. And if you think I was wrong in my assessment, well then good for you too, Arch. But it’s a free world, and just because we don’t have the same taste doesn’t make the review any less authentic.

    You make a point of mentioning that you’re from UP. Good God, man. Don’t do that. First off, your writing is full of malaprops.

    When you write “You had me at the word ‘sucked'” (obviously a tip o the hat to Jerry Macguire), the implication was that you loved the review. But your use of the word ‘would’ negates that implication, as does the rest of your comment. That’s just sloppy writing. My mom – a UP grad – was in tears. She said she didn’t know if she was crying because you were funny or because it was sad that a UP grad would construct a sentence that way.

    Secondly, your reasoning SUCKS. yes. it sucked. When you say that I’m not a big fan of dramas, it’s a non sequitur to say that I’m not a fan of movies either. It just doesn’t follow, Arch. That’s like saying if you don’t like adobo, then you don’t like food. A person can hate drama but like movies. Sheesh. Do they really let anyone study at UP nowadays?

    And besides, what does not being a drama fan have to do with anything?

    Oh, and don’t worry if you’re not a Judy Ann fan (altho for someone who isn’t a fan, you sure seem really comfortable calling her by that nickname! LOL). I’m sure she won’t miss one poser.

    One last thing. Welcome to the smoking room. Don’t let the door hit your ass on your way out.

  61. […] alliteration!!!) to caregivers. Which is refreshing, seeing as how we’ve already had one love-fest this […]

  62. jonathan says:

    acting was quite off, I had never seen any major Judy Ann film before but I guess Ploning stood out by its substance – you may like the usual conflict-plot-climax-resolution-denouement treatment, but hey this one’s made to break the rules I guess. Broken rules indeed they did!

  63. dorky says:

    loved this review! this review is definitely better than the movie.

  64. lee says:

    The Board of Governors of the Film Academy of the Philippines approved the selection of Ploning as the country’s entry to the 2009 Oscar Awards’ best foreign language film category during a meeting Friday, August 29.

    Five members of a special committee tasked to select the country’s entry which is headed by National Artist for Film Eddie Romero as chairman narrowed down the possible nominee to two films, Ploning and Caregiver. In a meeting last August 20, three members voted for Ploning and two members chose Caregiver.

    The special committee members were Director Jose Carreon, secretary of the Directors Guild of the Philippines, Inc.; Director William Mayo, president of the Philippine Motion Picture Directors Association; Johnny Delgado, chairman of the Actors’ Workshop Foundation; Pablo S. Gomez, president of the Screenwriters’ Guild of the Philippines; and Manny Morfe, president of the
    Productions Designers Guild of the Philippines.

    The two films were initially included in a six-film short list which were all reviewed by the committee on August 12 and 14 at the FAP office at OctoArts Bldg. on Panay Avenue, Q.C.

    Also reviewed were Tribu, a Cinemalaya festival winner and Endo. The producers of two other films— Pisay and Serbis (the Filipino entry in the last Cannes Film festival)—failed to submit DVD or VCD copy of their films and were not reviewed by the committee.

    The result of the voting was announced during the Board of Governors monthly meeting on Friday, August 29.

    Bruce Davis, executive director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), reminded the Academy of the various deadlines which are listed hereunder:

    –October 1, 2008 (Wednesday)
    a) three official entry forms completed and signed by
    1) the chairperson of the selection committee;
    2) the selection committee; and
    3) the selected film’s producer.

    b) Synopsis in English of the selected entry.
    c) Cast and production credits of entry.
    d) Advertisement of the film’s commercial run.
    e) Director’s biography and photograph.
    f) Film print of entry.

    The special rules for the best foreign language film award category require accurate English subtitles of the entry. The rules further stipulate that only one picture will be accepted from each country.

    Entries which will be nominated on January 22, 2009 will be required to provide a second-English-language subtitled print of the film to facilitate voting screenings. This second print must be submitted to the AMPAS on January 23, 2009 (Friday).

    All entries will be screened by the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award Committee(s) whose members will vote by secret ballot to nominate five foreign language motion pictures for this award.

    Academy records showed that 17 local films were shown in theaters from October to December last year. During the period from January to July 2, 2008, another 17 local films were also exhibited. Eight of these 34 films were rated A by the Cinema Evaluation Board of the Film Development Council of the Philippines and 11 were rated B.


    For our country, people, and God. To God be the glory.

  65. rom says:

    lee: haha. i was wondering when you people would show up here to tell me the news. well, congratulations to Ploning for being chosen by the locals. but, as you said:

    All entries will be screened by the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award Committee(s) whose members will vote by secret ballot to nominate five foreign language motion pictures for this award.

    so I’d hold off on the champagne for now, eh?

  66. Mario says:

    I don’t agree with some of what being said in blog, but honestly, I like this “Hollywood” kind of criticism. I don’t see any hatred nor any “vested interest on it.” It’s just purely personal opinion everybody entitled of. Philippine showbiz needs vigorous motivation and improvement in producing films marketable abroad.

    The Philippines was once one of the best, probably the best, in Asia, but now we’re falling behind India, Korea, China and, too bad, even Thailand. They are making movies that can compete with Hollywood’s and, in fact, doing good in box office. I hope Philippine showbiz will do something to excel in this industry and create more jobs for the Filipinos.

    Keep up the good work. Hopefully other writers and bloggers would do the same as you do. Just be honest and fair.

  67. Rey says:

    I am a director and I know the hard work that is put into making a film. I’ve worked with people who sincerely believe they’ve given their all and made a beautiful product. I respect the hard work.

    However, people should also accept plain and simple truths. If the performance was not convincing, then accept it. If there wasn’t enough work placed on preparing the actors to nail the roles, then admit it. This goes for every single aspect in making the film. What we should learn to do is face ourselves. It’s the only way to learn and become better.

    As a director it is always tough to try to push people to perform better without hurting their feelings. Filipinos are basically sensitive and get emotional with criticism, and that’s what always gets in the way of improving oneself, whether in films or any other business. Being nice doesn’t help our industry.

    And i’m really tired of hearing the ‘it was a good effort’…or…’it was great for a Filipino film’. That doesn’t help anyone.

    I’ve worked with many great Filipino actors. There are many of them trapped in our entertainment industry. They’re hungry for projects that will break them out of the degrading system they’re in. But we also need people to reach in and bring that talent out for the world to see. Even if it means not being very nice about it. We are limping in the acting department. Let’s fix it.

    We need to grow up and face ourselves. Let’s look beyond the stars and the showbiz and get into the very core of filmmaking. We know what a good, convincing acting performance is. We know how a good story should be told. Let’s aim for that. Not bullshit our way to foreign festivals or to the Oscars. They won’t have any idea if a role was played truthfully. Only we know that. Please, let’s grow up and learn how to accept criticism and use it to better ourselves.

    We can give it everything we’ve got, but if we fall short let’s accept it and pick ourselves up, and give it another shot.

  68. blah says:

    As for cutting Panoramanila slack, I don’t think so. Why should I? Why should anybody? In fact, that whole coddling mentality is prolly the reason many of our local products – from mangoes to movies – suffer from chronic mediocrity. “We are too quick to award praise and gushing enthusiasm simply by virtue of the fact that it’s “Pinoy” or something. They end up self-satisfied and then good-luck trying to make them do better.

    “I think that precisely because it is Pinoy, it must be subjected to the harshest and fairest criticism possible to push them to improve and be everything they can be. If they can’t take criticism, if they can’t rise above a negative review and do better next time, then they have no business competing in the creative marketplace.”

    Agree 101 percent!!!

  69. arch says:

    This is a tremendously wrong-lensed review.

    You obviously cannot appreciate non-linear, non-generic, non-mainstream type of flow. It was meant to be puzzling until Tessie Tomas.

    It was tailor-made for Judy-Ann, and I somehow agree she was a bit lacking, but not at all a miscast.

    Film Student, UP Film Institute

  70. Lloyd Baltazar says:

    I think its interesting that you did not like the movie Ploning. Even though I agree with some of your points, the nature of Filipino movies is in itself different from the hollywood standard, simply because Filipino culture is emotionally intense and this reflects on their cinematography. I do, however, support Ploning for making an effort to be entered into the Oscar’s nomination for Best Foreign Film, simply because I’m a Filipino and would like to represent my countrys’ work in any way possible. Also, because Filipinos are very sensitive to using honorific titles—-just like in Spanish language, the use of Mr./Ms./Mrs. as title to any person is a big deal because it signifies both honor and dignity to any Filipino. Thanks for letting all of us share our opinions.

  71. rom says:

    lloyd: welcome to the smoking room, lloyd! thank you for your sober comment, but i’d like to point out a coupla things as well.

    1) Filipinos don’t have a monopoly on emotional intensity, so i don’t think this necessarily excuses bad cinematography – or movie making.

    2) I get what you mean when you say that we shouldn’t adhere to a hollywood standard. agreed. but good storytelling is, in my opinion, not a monopoly of hollywood either. so there’s no excuse for bad storytelling too.

    3) I hope that PLoning gets nominated too. If only for the reason you mentioned. And besides, I did say that the movie was beautifully shot. that should earn some credit at least.

    Arch: here we go again with the UP credentials. You tried it before and I wasn’t impressed. When will you get it into your thick skull that I don’t give a fuck what school you come from.

  72. BrianB says:

    UP, home of philippine post-modernism?

    I promise myself I get a UP “intellectual” in a neutral forum I’ll humiliate every inch of gray matter out of him.

  73. BrianB says:

    And why is it always these UP film students. It’s like a frat in there. This person doesn’t know it yet but jargon is the tool of the mediocre. Online they’re so friggin mayabang. On TV and on radio they’re like rugby boys convincing no one and humiliating not only themselves but all artists. Just because you cannot utter a coherent sentence doesn’t mean you’re an artist.

  74. Ryan says:

    I was from UP. and Mowelfund too.

    But I’d rather watch the movie first before commenting.

  75. rom says:

    Good for you, Ryan. And welcome to the smoking room!

  76. fkuffysasha says:

    i didnt study film but i know if a movie is good….when a movie makes me think and touches me…then its good

  77. James says:

    I read your review a few months ago when I followed a link. Back then I haven’t watched the movie yet so I had no idea what you were talking about here. I remember I was just laughing so hard reading the different responses especially by those who were angered by your review. It’s funny how some people attack the critic without really considering where they’re coming from.

    I love movies, too–I’m not much of a critic, but having been immersed in literature and film, I’m a sucker for stories. I have great respect for artists and directors and writers because I see them as modern prophets. They reveal universal truths in life, and they make us ponder our own existence in this otherwise chaotic and often seemingly meaningless world.

    It was only last night that I watched Ploning. I would never have been interested in the film if not for the fact that Judy Ann was in it (I’m not a fan of hers, but I respect her work) and that the film was our official entry to the Foreign Language category in the Oscars. I watched the film not knowing what to expect–I tried not to get affected by the people who support the film nor those who bash it.

    Here’s what I thought of Ploning after I saw it: it is half-baked.

    I went online last night and tried to look for this blog entry to read your thoughts about it. After typing in “Ploning,” I got so many entries but this blog entry did not show up. I changed the search term to “Ploning bashing” and your site showed up third in the list.

    Having seen the film already, I couldn’t help but agree with the things you mentioned. Although the way you wrote the review (as a reaction to another review) also expresses your thoughts on the film, I might not write those things the way you did. I don’t have much sarcastic humor in my writing, but in essence, I agree with almost all of the things you mentioned about this film.

    For me, the characters were very flat and either underwhelming or overacted, and the central character is as dead all throughout as she was in the ending. The motivation was very vague for each character. And while I was starting to appreciate the subtlety of the story line in the first hour or so, the ending ruined the pacing of the film. Indeed, the major wreckage here in the film is its storytelling. The ending does not measure up to the premises of the plot and the characters remained people whom viewers will fail to connect with.

    The fault of the film is that it became too personal. The entire movie is screaming the idea that this film is a love letter directed to the people of Cuyo–not really a bad thing, but the universal aspect of the story is just lacking. As a Filipino, I felt disconnected with the characters and the story–what more the foreigners who will view this film? Yes, the audience will fall in love with Cuyo (in fact, I feel so motivated to go there anytime soon for some nature photography), the cinematography and photography done in this film are very respectable, but as a film itself, I think it can be handled better if the director had a clearer vision and message in the film. The film felt like a tourism ad for me, and the people in the story are merely actors delivering their memorized Greek lines from their scripts.

    For an acclaimed movie, I really feel bad for Philippine cinema. In the last few months, I’ve been watching some Brocka classics (Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang, Insiang, Manila sa Kuko ng Liwanag) and other works in the 70s; the viewing experiences were like finding buring treasures right in my own backyard. It was reassuring for me that we did have great movies before. But as one famous local critic correctly put it, the Filipino film industry is suffering from amnesia. Just look as to how we attempt to “preserve” these films. It’s just disappointing.

    And for those who loved “Ploning,” I’m just hoping that they don’t bash people whose points of views oppose theirs. After all, they all say that beauty is relative. But from my understanding of beauty, I believe that “Ploning” does not measure up to the beauty that is Cuyo.

  78. notaUPfilmstudent says:

    I just finished watching Ploning and I must say that it’s really visually dazzling but, sadly, the critique is spot on–the storytelling is just poor.

    rom: thanks for your Colbertesque wit and brutal honesty. I just hope that those who made the film would take your critique seriously and come up with a truly Oscar-worthy film that we could all be proud of next time around.

    More power!

  79. […] exclaimed the intrepid ‘lee‘ who also responded to my panning of Ploning thusly: You’re […]

  80. sm says:

    I watched the movie and was soooooo bored. The story seems to be sooo slow and if I did not google the storyline I would have never understood the film. I’m no film expert, but this movie did not have a plot, story jumps from scene to scene and was hard to weave together. Too bad cause the cinematography was great.

  81. Hugh says:

    What a pretentious critique.

    I can only gauge that whatever film knowledge you have is quite short-ranged. Just by this statement alone:

    “What was I thinking comparing him to Dakota Fanning, or Anna Paquin, or Haley Joel Osment?”

    Is that your yardstick by which you measure a child actor’s talent? Puhleeze. Had you name-dropped Jackie Coogan, Abigail Breslin, or a young Mickey Rooney, I would have respected your views.

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  • Baler 28 December 2008
    Watching Baler tomorrow. Will it be worth it?

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