“Good… Do good.” This is what kept ringing in my soul as I walked away from the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) where I had just watched the movie, Isang Araw Lang (Just One Day), by digital filmmaker/humanitarian Daniel Razon.
The movie is Mr. Razon’s directorial debut, and about it, nothing could be said but “Good show!” And in every sense of the phrase, it is.
“Ang paggawa ng mabuti, dapat tuloy-tuloy… Wala namang mabuting gawa na magbubunga ng masama.” One success of the film is that it was able to perfectly resound the message of the Isang Araw Lang advocacy in every line and deed of the lead character, Kuya Daniel (Big Brother Daniel).
(Doing good should be unceasing… There is no good deed that will yield evil.)
Kuya Daniel is a cop-turned-jeepney driver who tries to make a decent living for the orphans he raises. However, alongside all the sacrifices he faces as a single parent are others more for his fellowmen. And thus was he called kuya.
I admit that when I saw the trailer of the movie, I thought to myself that I had the ending all figured out. But boy was I gobsmacked. I thought that this was just another action movie where the martial-arts-expert-turned-civilian battles his way through hell just to get the justice he deserves. But as I said, “gobsmacked”.
Come to think of it, it wasn’t only the story that surprised me, but also its clever adaptation of biblical lines. Well, it isn’t a surprise considering that Mr. Razon is the VP of Members, Church of God International (MCGI)—a group well-known for being Bible-based (Really.) But I was surprised how such scriptural passages were inserted effortlessly into the movie’s script.
I arrived early at the venue and got seated before the multitude arrived. I could tell that most of them were members of MCGI because of the women who were dressed modestly. I confirmed this when hurrahs would break the silence every time Kuya Daniel delivered lines that have profound wisdom in them. Biblical, perhaps? Undoubtedly.
An hour and forty minutes have passed and the movie came to a close. I was so happy that I shouted “Congratulations! Great Movie!” to Mr. Razon who, surprisingly, was there on that special screening night.
As I exited the theater with thousands of other people, I noticed that no armed security personnel were there to put the people in order. We just were. No pushing, no arguments, nothing. Everybody got out happy.
I was already by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) complex, and I still couldn’t recall the last time I watched a Filipino film, on the big screen or not. I admit I am not very fond of local films as I have seen (or heard from my friends) many whose stories and characters are mere copycats of foreign ones. But those of Isang Araw Lang are undeniably unheard of—well, at least by those who do not read the Bible. Indeed, one can only wish that there will be many more movies like it, local or not.