Thursday, 15 October 2015


Life goes on in the wake of natural disasters, quietly, resignedly, out of sight and/or mind of those who see only death, only that disaster. More than ever, this life takes genuine effort to be sustained for those who can find any purpose in it - there's an appropriateness in Brillante Mendoza's refusal to search for a purpose in Taklub, his portrait of a community struggling to cope in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, or is it just his failure to do so? Honeylyn Joy Alipio's screenplay serves this maverick filmmaker poorly, giving the film a structure that's loose in its outlook yet rigorous in its adherence to conventionality. Mendoza finds little inspiration therein, neither to discover any particular artistic approach to the material nor to imbue it with any grander sense of significance. It's a film of floating attributes, few especially positive or negative; if Taklub's lack of magnitude as a film is negligible, it nevertheless boasts indubitable consequence as an account of human suffering and tragedy that's both intensely personal and subjective yet horribly universal. Mendoza focuses upon activity and discipline, without stressing it - his direction has a simplicity and a directness that stimulates sympathy above all else, though the detachment he also demonstrates is distancing, and Taklub eventually even falters in achieving its one, modest intention as such. It's rough around the edges, and curiously sentimental in ways that felt foreign to my sensibilities - I then regarded Taklub from the perspective of Eastern ensemble melodramas, and I finally wondered if I'd found a purpose for this otherwise rootless film.