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

Serbis (2008)

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Serbis : What’s Showing in Mendoza’ s Family Theater

By Dr. Bienvenideo Lumbera

Brillante Mendoza has two stars in the movie Serbis. The first is a moviehouse that has seen glorious days as a magnificent film palace and has declined with the years into a decrepit theater home to soft-porn movies and to patrons in search for sexual encounters of the third kind. The second is a human monument, tall and regal dowager-actress Gina Pareño who plays a matriarch who has sued the husband who abandoned her for another woman and when the movie begins, she is anticipating the husband’s conviction.Read complete review

CINEMA PURGATORIO
BY LITO B. ZULUETA

“SERBIS,” THE FIRST Filipino movie to have competed at the Cannes Film Festival in more than a quarter of a century, opens with what appears to be a commentary on its feat. A very young woman, Jewel (Rosanne Jordan), newly bathed and naked, admires herself in the cracked life-size mirror, moaning with apparent pleasure as if she were making love with her reflection. The camera lingers, perhaps a tad lasciviously, on her body, until she’s woken up from her narcissistic daydream by the catcall of her pesky little brother, who has surreptitiously opened the door to catch her unawares. When he runs away from her to announce to the rest of the family what she has been doing, the viewer learns that they are living in a vast movie house that has seen better days and scarcely survives with a double-feature program of faded sex movies where the actors always find an excuse to undress every 15 minutes. The theater scarcely survives on a diet of sex screenings, but they will do: patrons hardly go there to watch movies, after all; they go there to feast on the lusty images onscreen, rev up their libido, transact for sex with or without payment, and do their lurid acts under the disguise of darkness. It’s literally “service after dark.” Read complete review

CINEMA PURGATORIO
BY MIKE RAPATAN

BRILLANTE DANTE MENDOZA’S “Serbis” presents a heady slice of life in the daily grind of Family theater, a rundown movie house in Angeles, Pampanga owned and operated by the Pineda family. In several steady and ambulant long takes, Mendoza takes us into the dark and winding corridors and dank and skanky corners of the shady theater and slowly reveals the grungy lives of both the audience who patronize the theater and the family members who in one way or another strive to survive. Read complete review