Mga Kuwentong Barbero (Barber’s Tales)
Directed by Jun Robles Lana2013/2014
I have always wanted to see a Filipino period film that is actually great, and finally “Barber’s Tales” comes and it is what I have been waiting for. Set in a distant town in the Philippines during the Marcos regime, the film follows Marilou, a widow who tookover the job of her husband as a barber.
Marilou was played by Eugene Domingo who arguably gave the best performance of her career. It was refreshing to see her excel and showcasing her dramatic chops because she is such a great dramatic actress as much as she is a comedic actress. Ensemble work was fine across the board. Iza Calzado was memorable as the battered wife of an abusive mayor. Shamaine Buencamino-Centenera was her usual great self. But it was Nicco Manalo and Gladys Reyes who both stood out among the supporting ensemble cast.
It was a very solid period drama, that, like “Bwakaw” (Lana’s previous film about life in a small town), was made exceptionally well and was brilliantly acted Lana excels a lot when he has a great script in hand, he executed the film quite well. I hope that the film academy of the Philippines seriously considers the film to be submitted to compete for the upcoming Academy Award (unless they opted for Norte, Lav Diaz’s masterwork). It is a film that is distinctively Filipino, and is really great one. B+