When I heard about Auraeus Solito’s Busong and all the accolades it received, my curiosity was instantly piqued. I knew I couldn’t pass up on such a critically acclaimed movie. So even before I set foot inside the cinema, I was already fairly certain that I was about to see a really good movie. What caught me by surprise, though, was the extent to which it moved me. I did not expect to be constantly on the edge of my seat and to be so emotionally invested in the characters.
My hands were clasped over my heart practically the entire time I was watching the movie and even when I was on my way home, I couldn’t help but continue to do so. I was afraid my heart would explode from the sheer intensity of the emotions Busong stirred up in me. It’s a hauntingly beautiful movie which generally revolves around Punay, a girl who has never set foot on earth because of sores on her feet (and the rest of her body). Her brother, Angkarang, carries her on a hammock as he searches for a cure to her condition. Along the way, he comes across different people who help him. Take note, however, that Busong is anything but a conventional narrative and I struggle to come up with just the right words to describe it. I cannot seem to do so at the moment but allow me to share an excerpt from Philbert Ortiz Dy’s review at www.clickthecity.com:
It allows past, present and future to interact in the same scenes, establishing a strange, mystical setting that feels both foreign and familiar. It eschews a traditional narrative in favor of delivering a sense of immersion… The lack of narrative will certainly turn some people off, but there’s plenty of emotion embedded in these scenes. The film conveys a sense of wonder and loss, of alienation and belonging. Though the film can feel obtuse, its core is never in doubt. The love for Palawan shines through, and the tragedies of the island lend the film a pronounced intensity. The film approaches the documentary form even as it weaves its mystical tale, detailing the very real ills that have caused such great pain to the island and its inhabitants. Dazzling cinematography builds a stunning picture of the island, and elegantly reveals just how much we stand to lose. Through the haze of symbol and allusion, the film makes plea for the fate of the island, and it does so with eloquence and grace.
*Busong is currently showing at Shang Cineplex Cinema 4. Screening will run until the 24th.