We already watched Mano Po four days ago and I was sorely disappointed with how the movie turned out. To think that I was more interested with watching this film rather than Dekada '70 at the start of the film festival. The movie started very promising with the story of the clan's patriarch and matriarch sojourn into China in 1949 (just a few years after the second world war). The patriarch was the only son of these poor Chinese farmers and he brought home his Filipina bride to his parents who quickly disapproved of their union. After a few days of living the bride couldn't live anymore with the indifference that her in-laws were showing her and she moved back to the Philippines in a huff. Fortunately her husband chose her over his family and they got out of China just in time before the communists took over the land.

Fast forward to the present, the patriarch, Eddie Garcia, is celebrating his 80th birthday in a grand fashion complete with Chinese stage actors in full regalia, big candles, red cake, elevated seats on a golden stage (at this point I could easily see that this movie's moving away a bit from reality). Then the clan's "black sheep" (Ara Mina) made her entrance in a very revealing dress and giving her own grandfather a birthday gift of porn videos. The movie proceeds from there showing the family's rocky relationship with her, and showing how far she dares stretch their patience. Actually hers is only one of the subplots included in the story and it hopes to show the travails of a typical Chinese family here in the Philippines. Only it was far from the truth. The plot was full of holes, the acting too weak, and too Regal filmish. They stereotyped the Fil-Chi community. I'm not Chinese myself but I have friends who are and this is an unjustified portrayal. Never mind if they shot some of the scenes in China, those were the only noteworthy scenes.


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