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Ded Na Si Lolo [cam]

Three hundred years as a Spanish colony followed by roughly 40 years under American rule then World War II, which obliterated the physical monuments of a struggling national identity and almost crushed the spirit of a revolution-fatigued people shouldn't leave us wondering why we Filipinos have a fractured culture. Where else can you find devout Christianity and paganism co-exist in a meta-religion that equally believes in the Sto. Nino and the superstitions that dictate luck or misfortune?

Make mine a fractured culture, I say, and
Ded na si Lolo is a testament to the perfection of the imperfection of Filipino culture.

Soxie Topacio wears his love for theater on his sleeves givingDed na Si Lolo a cohesive structure that resembles a play. The first act introduces the five siblings and how they deal with their father's death: with over-the-top melodrama flair until one reaches (the ecstasy of) asphyxia. Joonee, the second youngest, played by the invincible Roderick Paulate, casually explains to his confused nephew that they are a family for tele-drama. Dramatics as expression. Out loud is the new loud, the only loud the family knows.

The melodrama comes into full play during the week-long wake as the siblings confront long-buried issues of rivalry and family secrets but always wisely rolling with the funny. If there's one thing that truly defines us Filipinos, it's our extraordinary sense of humor. We laugh-at and laugh-with instinctively; whatever the circumstances. Coping mechanism would be the cliche. A mutated funny gene would be cool.

A huge part of the comedy in
Ded na Si Lolo is the long list of superstitions observed during a wake. No bathing. No sweeping the floors. Snipping the rosary that is wrapped around the dead's hand to break the cycle of deaths in the family. No soup-based food during the wake. And the list goes on and on. More than the superstitions, it was absurdly amusing how the family rationalized the traditions and worked their way around them.

The cast's comedic timing were spot on and one could expect nothing less from such an
insanely talented cast. Old-schoolers Manilyn Reynes and Roderick Paulate effortlessly deliver most of the laughs; Paulate's baklang parlorista is greatly missed and just watching him deliver his trademark comedy already makes the movie worth watching.

Ded na Si Lolo is furiously loud, and is unashamed to be. It's simply how we celebrate life. It's how we pay tribute to love among family; it's how we tell stories of our dearly departed. It's how we say hello and say goodbye, with a chuckle under our beaths.

It's who we are, fractures and all.

Ded na Si Lolo
Directed by Soxie Topacio
Starring Dick Israel, Elizabeth Oropesa, Gina Pareno, Manilyn Reynes, Roderick Paulate, Perla Bautista, Rainier Castillo

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