Portia Placino

Repository of my thoughts and images of art, literature, travel, and life.

How “Babae Sa Septic Tank” ruined my Friday night

Babae sa Septic Tank

I will start with a positive note, Eugene Domingo did well. Very good actress. This is not about her performance. She did great. If anything, she is the saving grace of this movie.

During the height of my irritation, I tweeted na “bobo lang ang Babae sa Septic Tank. POVERTY PORN!* parati nalang!” Granted, its harsh. And I should not have tweeted at the height of my emotion without a ready response or explanation as to why. I have an explanation, but tweeting it at 140 characters per shot, to an angry person, is quite stressful.

Also, I dared the person angry at me to reveal himself. He has the egg photo as well as the name Albus Severus. After the WW incident, I treated all such anonymity with contempt. I assumed that this person is a troll. I cannot be blamed, especially as his first tweet to me is: “Alam mo ba ang sinasabi mo tungkol sa poverty porn*? Baka ikaw ang bobo!!!!!!” Later, it will be revealed that this person was a professor I had as an undergrad. Who would’ve thought? Before I can even get a word out, he already tweeted “pinanood mo ba ang pelikula bago ka magsalita ng ganyan? Manood ka muna ng pelikula sinabihan mong bobo bago ka magsalita.” Then more surprise, this person probably googled me, because I called him out and told him to reveal his true name, and he messaged me in FB and warned me in Twitter about it “Hello, please check your fb inbox. Di ako nagtatago ng pangalan ko.” My fb and twitter are not connected, so the only way he could’ve found me was searching for me through the internet. When I found out who this was, I was dazed. This person behaved like a true troll. (Even to the very end, he never revealed his true name in Twitter. I will not reveal it here, though. He never identified himself publicly, only through an fb private message.)

Later of course, he apologized to me. I apologized to him as well. I never meant to offend him. Part of my explation is that when I said bobo, I meant the premise and the concept of it, not the director script writer, or any particular person. Also, I was just tweeting at the height of my stress and irritation at the film. It was a one-liner attack to nobody. I was not even arguing with him. He was the one arguing with me. And as I said, I didn’t treat him with respect because he looked like a troll and acted like a troll. I had a lot of experience with that (looking back to the WW incident which is still in court).

I’m going to explain now, why did I hate the film? I hated it because of its premise. I understand that its a satire on independent cinema production. It had its funny moments (Eugene Domingo, Cherry Pie Picache, sexy-lloking actress play is quite good). Its not about that. What I absolutely hated is the premise, the story that they were playing with from the beginning until the very end. The story of the poor woman and her seven children. I found it insulting. Why? Because during that hour and a half, they have established that 1) the poor will only eat instant noodles, everyday, a pack for 7 children and their mother 2) a poor person is very much capable of selling her child, 3) the poor will rob you given any opportunity. During the stressful argument, I was demanding that he presents a particular scene to me where the poor is given a redeeming quality, where the poor is given dignity. He merely stated at the fb message that showing the life of the poor is already giving them dignity. I do not agree to this.

A lot of poor people are dignified people. They can find ways to feed themselves and their children. They are not comfortable like the educated bougeois of society, but neither are they helpless. You can be poor without being a prostitute, without selling your child and without losing every once of dignity that you have. I know that the downtrodden exists and that some are probably suffering worse that what is portrayed in cinema. But it also doesn’t help that all you show about the poor people are these stereotypes. I want the poor to be represented with dignity. I want the poor to break out of this box of images that film makers trapped them in. I find that in my own small way, it is my duty to point this out.

The satire of the story is on the film production. I didn’t feel the satire on the representation of the poor. They were playing with the idea, sure enough. But its brushed off. Again, the satire is on the “production.” (On the side note, I also found Jocelyn’s character, the production assistant, offensive. It was very sexist in character. She never really spoke a word, she’s just an accessory on the side. Is this satire as well? Are they making a statement on the role of women on indipendent cinema? Which is nothing? That she has no voice? Or is this mere carelessness, because the focus is on the two pretty boy protagonists? I would have preferred that she was not there at all. Or are they trying to be a little bit more politically correct by adding a female character, albeit silent? Satire or not?)

The stereotype of the poor once again glorified in cinema is what made me so angry that I tweeted something very harsh. That is also how I gained yet another enemy in the academe. Before I blocked him this morning, I looked at his twitter page one last time, he said that he’s going to stop twitter because its too stressful. Clearly, this person does not have a full understanding yet of social media. You cannot be too sensitive about what people say there. Maybe like myself, they made a mistake of tweeting at the height of their emotions or just found something that really irritates them. For the most of us, its normal. That’s why I was still a bit irked about his last tweet. After all, I just made a harsh comment on something (everyone makes this faux pas), yet I never attacked a particular person. I don’t know why he found the desire to attack me in the first place. Most online people would’ve brushed it off.

Also, he assumed that I was an idiot, that I cannot back up what I said. Maybe its a sickness that is creeping within the walls of the academe. We often assume that we are better than others, then we find the desire to attack someone with opposing views and think that we have the more proper point of view.

I don’t think that I will look at this person the same way again. Even though we all make the faux pas he did, he kept on telling me that I’m “bastos” and “magaspang ang ugali”. Because of a 140 character tweet. He found that reason enough to attack me. He didn’t even erase his tweets after he apologized. If I am searched in twitter, you can still find his tweets about me. For the second time in recent history, I find myself victim of cyber bullying (they say its only for children, but I am using this for the lack of a better term). People will judge you because of 140 characters and may find the need to attack you. Given that though, I am still going to say my views, no matter how unpopular they are, because sometimes, I think its my duty, and at other times, its just me being me. I will not let anybody stop me from things that I find the need to say. Hopefully, this entry will have explained more, why I really hate “Babae sa Septic Tank” and how it ruined my really nice Friday night. (I should have just kept reading Anna Karenina and saved the money I spent.)

*Poverty Porn: Pornography is defined as “the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction” (from Merriam-Webster dictionary). International film festivals eat up poverty porn. That’s why Filipino indie film makers make them, without realizing (or caring) that they’re actually stripping off the Filipino poor of their dignity by the way they are portrayed in the films. Cyrus Alvarez

Read the original post and comments: How \”Babae sa Septic Tank\” ruined my Friday night

5 comments on “How “Babae Sa Septic Tank” ruined my Friday night

  1. threesticksofwatusi
    August 8, 2011

    I liked Ang Babae sa Septic Tank but I do understand your point.

    Anyway, yes, people will judge you based on what you post/say on the Internet That’s why I avoid posting anything when I’m extremely mad/pissed at something/someone. Communication is irreversible eh, kahit pa idelete mo yan, nabasa na ng mga tao at di na nila makakalimutan.

    • portiaplacino
      August 8, 2011

      Yes, thank you. I am just trying to get my point across. Its a good thing that a lot of people watched the film and liked it. What I say is my opinion and I am not imposing it on anyone whatsoever.

      I have to admit that the rash tweet was a bad judgement call on my part. And more bad judgement calls followed as I replied to the tweets for me in anger as well. But its done and there’s no taking it back. I think I did the best I could to remedy the situation, though its not a perfect remedy. That’s an important lesson to be learned in this experience.

  2. Bouylie
    August 16, 2011

    I saw Ang Babae sa Septic tank. . . . It was. . . I supposed. . . was inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon. . . instead of getting the different points of view of witnesses/accomplices to a crime. . .this time it was about the different points of view of the movie within the movie “Walang wala” from its key people — the producer, who wants to save money; the director, who wants his film to stay as it is; the assistant, who wants a different genre for the film and the actress, who is very full of herself. . .

    It was funny, brilliant and over the top. . . “storytelling” is the key point of the film

    The film also showed how shallow are the elitists and conios in generalizing and romanticizing the poor, especially those who have never set foot to a slum area. . .

    This film has CULT written all over it. . . .

  3. candidheadlines
    September 7, 2011

    Hi there! Just wanted to update you that my blog (the first one in your suggested readings) has moved. 🙂 It’s now @ http://www.candidheadlines.com Thanks!

  4. Pingback: The Search for Paradise « Portia Olenka

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