FILM: PHP-FACine – Namets! – Jay Abello – 2008
I guess, this is Masskara Hangover…
NAMETS! is an entry to the 2008 Cinemalaya. The film was shot entirely in Negros Occidental. It’s a romantic comedy, which stars Christian Vasquez and Angel Jacob… directed by Jay Abello. The title is a play on the Hiligaynon word ‘namit’ which means yummy or delicious.
Jacko (Christian Vasquez) is the chef/owner of Puccini’s, an Italian restaurant in Bacolod. But his cockfighting debts have caught up with him, and he’s forced to cede ownership of his beloved restaurant to Dolpo (Peque Gallaga), a local gambling lord/foodie. Dolpo likes Jacko’s food enough to give him a chance, making him the chef and a partner in the restaurant that he just gave away. However, this chance comes with a condition: Jacko must work with Cassie (Angel Jacob), a consultant and Jacko’s ex-girlfriend. Cassie wants Jacko to abandon Italian food and cook Negrosanon food instead, a suggestion that rubs Jacko the wrong way, but sends him on a journey to discover his roots and what his heart really wants.
Director Jay Abello who is an avid photography hobbyist and has worked as a cinematographer for several other directors has created a visually stunning movie, paying great respect to light and composition. It’s interesting to watch the places I frequent with family and friends come to life on screen. It also made me realize that there are more places to explore and things to experience in this province.
Ilonggo actors, Joel Torre, Monsour del Rosario, Ronnie Lazaro and Dwight Gaston, as well as other local theatrical talent playing supporting and cameo roles. Though there are a lot of scene stealers in this movie — the siopao-maker, Ronnie Lazaro and the boy who played his son, Dwight Gaston and his smart , to name a few… I have to give it Peque Gallaga who is the most lovable hoodlum I’ve seen.
The dialogues are primarily spoken in Hiligayonon with English subtitles. I used to get irritated watching local/Ilonggo soap operas or amused at Ilonggo actors in mainstream cinema with a very thick accent. But Namets! showed why a lot of people find the people in our province with accent and all endearing and charming.
But the real central character of this movie is Ilonggo food and cuisine. The film shows and talks a lot about food… and will make you hungry even before you reach the ending.
What is cinema? Cinema may refer to film, motion pictures, movies, film making, a movie theater… a visual medium that tells a story and exposes reality. It’s art, illusion and reality coming together.