Part mystery, part behind-the-scenes, part found-footage ang ‘People Power Bombshell: The Diary of Vietnam Rose’ . Intriguing ang concept at maganda ang intention nito, pero para bang the whole is not the sum of its parts. May binabagayang audience ito, pero it’s not for all. Photosensitive epileptics, proceed with caution.
SYNOPSIS: A mystery dreamlike portrait of a movie star’s harrowing ordeal in the making of a film. This is about Liz Alindogan, then 19-year old naive newbie star, and director Celso Ad Castillo dubbed as Philippine cinema’s messiah. It is structured as a mystery film, making viewers question whether to believe the account of Liz Alindogan. (synopsis from the official CinemaOne Originals Facebook page)
DIRECTOR: John Torres
CAST: Liz Alindogan-Kho | Ronnie Lazaro | Ding Navasero | Angie Ferro | Rustica Carpio | Daria Ramirez | Angela Perez | Vida Verde
Mahirap ipaliwanag ang People Power Bombshell so tl;dr version: Kung ikaw ang tipo ng manonood na naghahanap ng deeper meaning sa isang kuwento, mahilig sa deconstuction o paghimay ng bawat elemento, at may tolerance sa found-footage/vintage look and feel, malamang para sa iyo ‘to. May binabagayang audience ito, pero definitely hindi ito para sa lahat.
Hindi typical na documentary ang People Power Bombshell–if by “typical” we mean iyong mga nakasanayang real-life footage na may omniscient narrator/voice-over at minsan may mga nakasingit na one-on-one interviews sa mga tao. Dito sa dokyu na ‘to, viewers are provided with footages of the late Celso Ad. Castillo’s unfinished film “The Diary of Vietnam Rose”. Mula sa foundation na ito, two things nais i-achieve ni drek John Torres: (1) provide an alternative narrative for the film para matapos na ito, and; (2) alamin kung ano ang mga nangyari during its original production from various members of the cast, primarily sa lead actress nito na si Liz Alindogan (now Liz Alindogan-Kho).
The result for both is good enough once you get its groove. Which can be a challenge. Baka kailanganin ng more than one screening for the average moviegoer to fully appreciate this documentary; otherwise, confusing and at times annoying ito. Gaya nga ng nabanggit sa synopsis, it is presented as a mystery–sometimes parang may magic realism pa ito. Isa pa, it’s been hinted (again mula sa synopsis at sa ibang parts ng dokyu) na hindi reliable narrator si Alindogan. Dito pa lang, maaaring makasakit na ito ng ulo. Add the fact that given na luma/sira ang look-and-feel nito (even the newer footages were made took old), masakit rin ito minsan sa mga mata. Hindi suprirsing kung maaari itong mag-induce ng seizures.
Samakatuwid, one will either love People Power Bombshell or hate it. Its intention looks really good on paper–sino ba namang hindi maiintriga sa lost footages at mga behind-the-scenes tell-alls? How this was presented, though, is another story. ♦