Panoorin ang ‘Ang Tigmo sa Akong Pagpauli (The Riddles of My Homecoming)’ para sa natatanging visual experience. Tungkol ito sa paglalakbay sa after life. Samakatwid, kahit ano pwedeng mangyari. Kung papanoorin, ihanda ang sarili para makatutok. Lahat ng imahe ay may ibig sabihin. Pag nawala ka sa pasikut-sikot, it is highly likely na mainis ka. Panoorin nang may kasama, para may makausap pagkatapos. Makakatulong ito para maliwanagan or maibsan ang kalituhan.
SYNOPSIS: The Lumad, indigenous people of Mindanao, believe that when a man dies, his soul returns to his hometown to settle unfinished business or watch over his lands and properties. So when Alfad, a young man, dies, he travels through the afterlife back to his hometown, and becomes witness to a townspeople ravaged by tragedy and corruption.
GENRE: Silent, Experimental, Mystery
DIRECTOR & WRITER: Arnel Mardoquio
“Ang Tigmo sa Akong Pagpauli (The Riddles of My Homecoming)” is a movie about a man’s journey through the afterlife back to his hometown, as per the belief of the Lumad in Mindanao. It is a silent film, relying only on its great visual imagery and music to tell its story.
“Ang Tigmo” was produced for the Cinema One Originals Digital Film Festival in November 2013, where it won several awards, including Best Director for helmer Arnel Mardoquio. It was presented to the public again this week as the closing film at the 8th International Silent Film Festival, with live music from Filipino World Music Band KALAYO (formerly Pinikpikan!).
Alfad’s soul travels back to his hometown after dying an unspecified death. In the afterlife, he comes to terms with events in his life, such as the death of his father, the destruction of their home, and an unconventional romance.
Being in the afterlife gives him an unprecedented perspective of the tragedy that befalls his hometown and its people. He witnesses a man rise as a cult leader, taking over from someone who perpetrates literal gut-wrenching rituals, only to abuse this power later on. He causes much mayhem and debauchery.
Meanwhile, an hermaphrodite suffers rejection from Alfad, and gets affection from a woman, who later on realizes she was confused with the setup and leaves. The hermaphrodite rises from this tragedy, shows power, and becomes a shaman. Threatened by this power, the cult leader castrates the hermaphrodite.
The woman who made love with the hermaphrodite is later on revealed as being pregnant and delivers a child. The movie ends with the woman and her child on a boat, trying fruitlessly to get away from the tragedy of it all.
“Ang Tigmo” is an uncommon visual experience. The premise has given director Mardoquio a canvass with endless possibilities. Mardoquio seems to have used all of them, producing beauty and chaos. A viewer can only expect the unexpected.
The story is shown as a series of beautifully shot landscapes and symbolisms. It raises a lot of questions: Does the cult symbolize people’s tendency to believe the mystical? Is the hermaphrodite’s struggles the tendency to box sexuality in social standards? Is the cult leader our own corrupt leaders? Does the woman with child represent those who want to run away from it all?
The movie is successful in asking these questions, less so in answering them. But perhaps it doesn’t intend to. Nobody understands the afterlife, and one feels the same sense of confusion after watching the movie. Is that deliberate?
Technically, the movie is crafted expertly. Apart from the great cinematography by Barbarona, Carillo, and Nacario, the editing by Gutierrez is as much a part of the story as the images themselves.
“Ang Tigmo” bravely experiments with the medium. Like the shaman, it doesn’t want to be confined to the norms of straightforward storytelling. It’s also a labor of love, as we learn that most of the crew also double as cast.
However, this style of artistic expression is not for everyone. Amidst the confusion, there is a great story in there somewhere, but it’s up to the viewer to put all the pieces together. In the end, not everyone will have the same experience. The title itself should have been the first warning. What happens in the afterlife, and whether it even exists, is subject of debate. In the same manner, this movie is wide open to interpretation. ♦