Triptiko (Miguel Franco Michelena, 2017)

Miguel Franco Michelena proposes, in Swerte, that the division between good and bad is a mere hairsbreadth, flippable in a matter of nanosecond. Jake is from a sexual conquest, witnesses a crime and so is pursued by the murderer, and series of unfortunate events ensues. A happy incident is easily overturned, the residue of which, the girl’s undies, becomes an incriminating evidence and our boy, a playboy, his conio cocky stance is reduced to mere crybaby histrionics (Albie Casiño is up to task and effectively) when put up against authority. As the bad luck piles up, we wait for Michelena’s resolution, and it comes in quick, his staging of deus ex machina is out of the blue as how it should be. Serves him right, we blurt, referring to what happened to the bad cop, and Jake goes home scarred.

The second episode fleshes people’s obsession with physical beauty and the absurd length they are willing to go for it.  And what a length Michelena’s Jason (played by Joseph Marco with both believable desperation and chiseled abs), the model protagonist of the segment, titled Hinog, goes: he takes in an ample amount of puss from his boil! That scene is rather long and not easy to sit through. Jason’s fixation with vanity is already absurd and Michelena rubs it further in with in-your-face procedural and deliberate stretch, what we get is a no-holds-barred experience, a test on your sikmura and popcorn (this is not a date film). The length is rumpled with a minor hiccup: its insistence on nuno’s involvement, this coming in too late into the film without plant. But the scene that follows – what a wrap-up! – is tinged with irony, pregnant silences, and a wicked smile.


John (Kean Cipriano) is a folk musician who is so in love with his wife, Ann (Kylie Padilla). We see them exchange sweet nothings, their world is a paradise promising to last, until something happens. Michelena does not show how it happened as merely suggest it. In one of the couple’s chat with a family, Ann’s wound on her wrist is brought up accidentally; Michelena’s execution of this is more an aside than an intention. Their cat inflicted the wound, the couple explain and move on to another chitchat. John continues playing folk songs, and being madly in love. His world starts to crumble when his girl begins acting up, scratching people and wooden plank like some cats would when provoked, and rather often, stares blankly at walls and past things. As she slowly deteriorates, John starts messing his gigs and, eventually, cutting ties. Here is a man once so happy and sure, now losing foothold. Musikerong John, the third episode’s title, and the best of the triptych, is a story about something seeming precious and perfect, when it is starting to show cracks. Sad, sad film.


8 stars

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