The goal is to make the president out to be a father figure. Is that even possible?
Joyce Bernal is directing the State Of the Nation Address (SONA) happening Monday, July 23. Her predecessor, Cannes Best Director winner Brillante Mendoza, showed us extreme close-ups, tilted angles, yet zero character development to his protagonist, President Duterte.
Bernal, known for turning Booba, Mr. Suave, and Kimmy Dora into household names, is now tasked to show the President as a “father.” She has said that she aims to capture how much he loves the Philippines.
Uhm, okay. It’s an interesting choice to say the least. Less seriousness, more entertainment. Do we expect laugh tracks? Wenk wonk funny sound effects? We watched five of Joyce Bernal’s best films to see what we can expect during the SONA.
Slow motion. Soft focus. Warm lighting. A recurring theme song that’s also the movie title.
Could this be the SONA where we finally get a bokeh shot of our Dear Leader? Bernal is, after all, one of the Rom Com Queens of Philippine cinema. She has said she wants to keep the mood warm, so I expect a shot where Duterte looks longingly towards the audience, softly directing his gaze to the Chinese ambassador. He sings: “Don’t give up on us, baby.”
They will try to convince us that a lecherous pick-up artist is an adorable everyman.
Imagine that we are about to sing the national anthem: “Tumayo tayong lahat, at ilagay ang kanang kamay sa dibdib… ng katabi.” Who said it, Duterte, or Mr. Suave? The titular character in this 2003 Bernal classic is all talk and no game. He dishes advice about attracting women, but in reality freezes up around them. Kinda sounds like how our Our Dear Leader rambles about jet skiing to Benham Rise, ending the Drug War in six months, and putting drug kingpins to jail.
Booba saves the day. And becomes assistant secretary to the PCOO.
At this point, I don’t even know if I’m predicting the SONA, or just showing how life imitates fiction. The difference between Booba, played to perfection by Rufa Mae Quinto, and Mocha Uson, is that only one of them is playing dumb.
We discover that Duterte is an evil twin.
In Kimmy Dora, Eugene Domingo portrays twins — the Machiavellian twin Kimmy, and the sweet but dumb Dora. Kimmy is so evil she hires Baron Geisler to kill her twin just so she can have sole control of their family business. I mean, killing innocent people to gain control over an institution? Sounds familiar. In reality, Duterte does not have a sweet and innocent twin he wants dead and stowed in a bag somewhere (as far as we know). Instead, there are just 20,000 bodies to his name — fathers, mothers, children alike.
The ghosts of Duterte’s past are waiting for Vhong Navarro to open the portal to the afterlife.
In D’Anothers, Vhong Navarro discovers that he is The One who has the key to the portal that allows ghosts in a haunted mansion to cross to the other side. He spends most of the film dithering and engaging in comedic hijinks. But eventually, he steps up and confronts his fear of ghosts to fulfill his destiny and to deliver justice to the dead. There is no Duterte in this alternate plot line. Just us, the audience, in a country haunted by its ghosts, forgetting that we hold the key to unlock the portal to another world.