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Mga Anino ng Kahapon: Illness as Metaphor │Pinay.com

Mga Anino ng Kahapon: Illness as Metaphor
Actress Agot Isidro (Resha Destiny@pinay.com)

By Resha Destiny

Madness, national security and militarization, diaspora, and  the social costs of labor migration outweigh its economic costs —Mga Anino ng Kahapon  has a lot to offer for Pinays who would like to see new realities of Filipino families surviving separation.

Mga Anino ng Kahapon

Cast members Agot Isidro, Carlo Cruz Jay Gonzaga, and Carl Acosta with the film’s director, Alvin Yapan, and co-producer Alemberg Ang (Resha Destiny@pinay.com)


The film examines the struggles a family encounters in dealing with a mentally ill matriarch. Mga Anino ng Kahapon tells a tale about a woman’s slow descent into madness brought by schizophrenia. “Mga Anino ng Kahapon is a journey of first unlearning and then learning.  By challenging false notions head-on and exposing the real journey of a patient with schizophrenia and how it affects the family, I hope that more and more Filipinos will develop compassion and understanding, and as a result, help awareness on the condition,” explained Alvin Yapan, director of the film.

The film begins with Ed preparing to leave his family temporarily to work in Dubai for better wages. The pangs of abandonment unconsciously surfaces within the wife Irene, triggering her paranoia of ‘military personnel’ as guests that only she can see. She begins to see and hear conversations and characters that aren’t real. The experience affecting  the family and their memories of their past resurfaces.

The apex of this film is Agot Isidro. She maneuvers the nuances of the character effectively without resorting to the banalities of overacting. Her extensive study of the role paid off. There is also a scene that evokes the folk misconception on schizophrenia being caused by demonic possession. Here, her relatives thought she was being possessed by a spirit as displayed by her erratic behavior. At first, I wasn’t able to understand what triggered the regression of her traumatic experience. Then it dawned on me that most mental illnesses are actually triggered and made worse by the feeling of abandonment, which the character has experienced when her husband left her to work overseas.

Mga Anino ng Kahapon has a fascinating coherent narrative and its humorless temperament resonates well in the film despite the somber tone of the storytelling. It is also fitting that the violence of militarization is like spirit hovering over the structure of the film’s narrative.  Yapan noted towards the end of the Q & A session after the press screening, in reference to some Filipinos’ regressive love for the Marcoses, “Our nation also has schizophrenia.”

An advocacy film co-produced by Jannsen and directed and written by Alvin Yapan, Mga Anino ng Kahapon (English title: Shadows of the Past). An award-winning writer, Yapan is successful in crossing genres from the written words to the visual arts.  Yapan’s critically-acclaimed films include Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa (2011) and  Debosyon (2013).  Mga Anino ng Kahapon was  part of the 2013 MMFF New Wave Category films that were shown in Glorietta 4 and SM Megamall cinemas from December 18 to December 24. The film stars Isidro as Irene, TJ Trinidad as Ed, with Upeng Galang-Fernandez, Carlo Cruz, and Carl Acosta in supporting roles.

I got the chance to interview the film’s lead, Agot Isidro, after the screening. Isidro was my classmate in an acting workshop I attended years back.  She is also a singer-host and most of her films were produced by one of the Philippines’ major film outfits, Viva Films. Some of her previous films are Mumunting Lihim and One More Try. She is also slated to appear in GMA Network’s television series entitled Carmela.

Mga Anino ng Kahapon

Actress Agot Isidro (Resha Destiny for pinay.com)

Resha: With this challenging role, did you peg your performance from films previously made on schizophrenia?

Agot Isidro: No. No pegging. I didn’t see any film that has schizophrenia. I saw videos of real patients and the caregivers, the doctors… but no movie. Nothing was pegged.

Resha: I’ve read an article saying you were into the role that at time it was hard to get out of the character.

Agot: Yes. Especially the last part, the hallucinations were really extreme. That was really hard to let go that’s why my crying scene with Ed, it’s all real. It’s like it’s there, okay it’s not, okay it’s there, okay it’s not. I was like “please say cut already!” It was so painful.

Resha: Since this role is already challenging, as an artist, do you have any dream roles in the future?

Agot: None. I don’t have any dream roles.  I just wait for projects that are offered to me like this one. It’s not something that I consciously plan for. It’s ‘whatever comes’. I find it challenging or if I can make it challenging, then I’ll do it.

Resha: Here is my last question. Towards the end, a support group for people with schizophrenia is depicted. I’m not aware that these kinds of intervention existed in our country. Do you have a statement regarding the lack of support groups here?

Agot: I guess. Especially when we went to the National institute for Mental Health, they do have different wards. They have public and private wards, rooms for people with slight mental (illness) conditions as well as really extreme cases. There are support groups but still there is something lacking. I think even private hospitals have them… it’s really not available for everybody.

Resha: Okay, that’s all. Thank you very much.

Agot: Thank you.

reshadestiny

I'm a prokaryotic entity who loves the blue hue and chicken curry.

I believe in the law of attraction, that each of us can shape our own destiny.

I started writing when I was still in my mother's womb. I'm the twin of Joan Jett from another dimension.

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