The society of respected film critics that hands out the annual Gawad Urian in cinematic excellence

Baybayin (2012)

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Inscribing Love, Land and Loss, and Self via Subversive, Sensual Syllabaries

By Tito Genova Valiente

In the beginning was chaos. As with all myths, order comes through words or naming. Man and woman give names to things that are unknown to them, and knowledge brings about harmony. Classification restores logic and understanding to the universe.

Syllables create the film, Baybayin. To be precise, the ancient syllabaries called Baybayin initiate the movement of people—characters—in this tale, while the metaphor of Paradise runs amok, losing control at certain points, meandering now, and then, but coming to an end that is rightfully, forcefully in silence, at the heart of any post-colonial discourse. The traveler is always on his or her way, never reaching the destination.

Loss, to follow Eva Hoffman, can magically preserve things.

That is the magical proposal of this film: Loss of language or its vanishing, more than its strong presence, can help people preserve elements of their culture and their identities. That is what happens in this film, when syllables are inked on the body of a boy in a trance.Read complete review