Friday, June 17, 2011

Cinemalaya 2011: NIÑO by Loy Arcenas

Cinemalaya 2011: NIÑO by Loy Arcenas


Fides Cuyugan Asensio, Shamaine Buencamino, Tony Mabesa , Raquel Villavicencio, Art Acuna, Diana Malahay, Joaquin Valdes and introducing Jhizhelei Deocareza

The once illustrious Lopez-Aranda family has faded. Celia, once the darling of Philippine opera, and Gaspar, a distinguished ex-congressman, lacked the shrewdness to maintain their once elegant status. Saddled with a failed marriage, a vanishing career and mounting debt, Celia sold her share of their house to Gaspar, now bedridden. She managed to stay for free in exchange for being Gaspar’s caregiver. Gaspar loves listening to Celia’s arias. This idyllic arrangement is shattered when he slips into a coma. His daughter, Raquel, comes home from the US, determined to sell the house to salvage her own economic woes abroad. This signals Celia’s impending homelessness. With only a few heirlooms to sell, she is at her wits’ end. A fervent believer of the Sto. Nino, she hopes for a miracle. She dresses up her grandson, Antony, in Sto. Nino robes to prepare him for the coming fiesta. She insists this will invoke a miracle that will awaken Gaspar and stop Raquel from selling the house. Antony’s father, Mombic, while processing his travel papers to work in Dubai, tries to strike a deal with Raquel in selling the property without his mother Celia’s knowledge. Merced, Mombic’s sister, reluctantly takes on the burden of taking care of Celia and a household sliding to ruin. The family members clash in a confrontation that reveals their weaknesses and their hopeless ideals. Mombic leaves his son to the care of his mother and sister, Merced, the only family member who quietly accepts her fate. As a final ditch to awaken Gaspar, Celia holds a tertulia, inviting her aging opera singer friends. They sing arias, oblivious to the ravages of time, crippled reminders of a glorious past. In the middle of a chorus, Gaspar quietly dies, sealing the fate of his sister and the mansion that once was called Villa Los Reyes Magos. Celia looks out into her once beautiful garden. She sees Antony, still in his Sto. Nino robe, playing in the garden, offering a little illusion of hope to a past that can never be rekindled.

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