In Chito Rono’s Badil (2013), the election is decided not before the campaign season, or at some point during it. It is not decided based on ideologies or platforms or theories of contested democracy.
In the film, the election is decided based on how much a politician can give just the night before people make their way to voting precincts. (Oh how timely.)
SYNOPSIS: Acting as a window into how flawed our basic political right has become, the film follows Nonoy as he takes over his Father, the Kapitan’s, duties as guardian to committed voters harassed by vote buyers on the eve of the election. (IMDB.com)
There’s no anti-thesis. No man has principles; no man is standing for a cause. They’re generic, caricatures of a community completely corrupted by the dirty political culture. The voting population are essentially programmed robots. They are just as important as their votes and they can be yours if the price is right.
Not everything in the film works. Nikki Gil is a waste of talent and her story arc as a token lover does not satisfy. Jhong Hilario’s narrative is the same as every other film with themes of unavoidable fates–where the protagonist of the infected system cannot escape a strongly established and unforgiving cycle.
This is patron-client relationship at its best when imagined by the people outside looking in, and as realized by academicians whose school of thought follows that of the 20th century. Badil caters to the belief that people have lost their faith in the collective imagination that the election is supposed to embody, and instead subscribes to the immediate and temporary solutions that they can receive.
I like it enough, but give me another week, and I would have forgotten almost everything in this film.