WATAWAT (2009) IS a tagalog independent film directed by Dave Cecilio. The movie went back to the time when the Philippine flag is being created. The movie also highlights some significant events in the Philippine history.
(Side story: I am excited to watch the movie, Watawat, because I want to see how the movie was prepared, how some well-known characters were being portrayed and because after watching the Ang Bayaning Third World I found it interesting to watch movies about history.)
The idea of the movie was great. I didn’t know any other historical movies which story revolves around how a flag was done. Not just a flag, but a symbol of a country, a symbol of independence. When the movie started, I can’t hide my excitement so I was really silent then absorbing the introduction part. Before long, I found myself asking myself, “Is it starting already?”, and I end up asking my friend beside me if it really have started and he said so. I don’t know how many sighs and yawns I have done during the one and a half hour of gazing at the screen but I swear there’s many. I simply didn’t enjoy the movie. It was boring, uninteresting, and unexciting. I know it’s not supposed to be exciting but it’s supposed to be interesting yet it ends up boring. I have difficulties reading the subtitles maybe because of its font. Also some ‘important’ details were wrong; just like the dates. Dates are not really important but when it comes to history; history can never be a history without dates. There are scenes that I don’t understand or why such even placed in the movie. The characters have same accent, not only that, they are monotonous. I mean, why the characters can’t have different tone of voice. Just like Josephine Bracken; I even asked my friends, “Is that Josephine Bracken?” and my question was answered when I heard her name from the other characters. It’s because the tone of her voice, she sounded more like a Filipino not an Irish, unlike the Josephine Bracken in the Ang Bayaning Third World. Having watched the Ang Bayaning Third World I was sorry for I can’t avoid comparing. When you close your eyes, you can’t have distinction between the characters, you cannot be sure if two different persons are having conversation. The only part that I like was when we sang our National Anthem.
After the movie, the director, Dave Cecilio gave the opportunity to comment or to ask him about the movie. He explained not few but several parts of the movie. For me, he was defensive. He is even proud that his movie was done under thirteen days. He also said that his movie was violent-free for his target audiences include children under kindergarten and he needed the RPG rating in order for the movie to be watched by under age. He also said that he wants his movie to be valued by different generations of the society. He is as well pompous as he said that his movie cannot be pirated. He stated that as the process of making his movie lengthen, the expenses also increase; that this movie is not only a matter of arts but also a balance of expense.
The movie should speak for itself. It doesn’t need to be explained or defended by the film maker. For thirteen days he was proud that his movie was successfully finished but then it was more like a presentation than a movie. Just like a presentation made by amateurs. What just makes it a movie is the length of the time it consumed; 90 minutes. He wants his movie to be understood and appreciated by kindergartens which is impossible because in the first place they were just children! Children at that age cannot really understand history even if how hard we try to explain or teach it. If he wants his movie to be appreciated, his targeted audiences must be those who are aware and who have the capability to understand our history. In order for a movie to be appreciated it must be understood first. The movie was violent-free but then a good movie needs that. A historical movie should have at least some violence; it’s not necessarily a must but a great movie requires it just as how a love story needs romance. He was making a historical movie and he wants it to be cherished but then he is not ready to spend a lot of money. I mean, hey it’s a historical movie, it’s gonna be watched by the Filipinos, and he wanted the people to be grateful about it and it’s about the Philippine flag, our flag, but he said, “It’s not about the money, it’s about the expense.” Well, it’s just the same. He, himself, is not open-minded to the fact that he needed a large amount of money in order to produce a great historical movie. He was pleased that his movie was not being pirated, well in the first place who will have the interest to waste time pirating such movie? I am not being rude but the movie gave me reasons to be, I’m just saying that the movie is horrible. A hundred pesos is not worth watching it. My money was just wasted as well as my time.
It’s just that it didn’t satisfy my expectations, it’s just that the movie didn’t speak for itself, I just didn’t appreciate it. It was lacking in many ways.