Posted by: nastypen | July 14, 2007

“Everybody Needs a Shipwreck Once in a While”

This is just one of the best lines in one of the best Filipino films EVER. Yes, I consider the criminally stupid Temptation Island as one of the best Filipino films ever. I can feel the glare from my artsy-fartsy friends and professors as I make this pronouncement.

I dare say it is one of the best because of its seemless ability to destroy the thin boundary between what is irritating and what is insane. This movie is funny without the intention for humor. Oh Lord, the laughter I exhibit every time I see this film cannot be quantified.

Temptation Island is the work of the late director Joey Gosengfiao. Basically, the story is like William Golding‘s Lord of the Flies; only, instead of British school boys, beauty queens and some men slug it out in a deserted island. It was shown in 1980, perhaps heralding the salad days of its film production outfit Regal Films. A lot of cineaste friends say that it was the 80s that the death knell of Filipino cinema was heard and the one who rang it was Mother Lily, the matriarch and money of this company.

Mother Lily may not have invented this system but she made it the norm in her film production outfit. “It” being pito-pito (roughly translated to seven-seven); that would be the number of days for a film shoot. Being a cunning businesswoman, money talks loudest in this field for her. SO what better way to make money but to do it quick for something little for the audience to lap it up until the next pito-pito film is churned out?

The 80s saw an unprecedented rise of number of films being made. But that does not mean they were good; remember the argument of quality vs. quantity. It was under Mother Lily’s direction to have those mini-trilogies like the Shake Rattle and Roll or Mga Kwento ni Lola Basyang, in which three different “short” films are clumped together into one feature-length presentation.

Good business deal, right? The consumer gets three films for the price of one. After all, it is called the film INDUSTRY. It’s all about the money.

Artistic integrity and business seldom mix.

Case in point, Temptation Island. If anything, this movie is basically a star-making vehicle. Mother Lily’s ingenious way of introducing her newfound pawns also known as stars is evident in a smorgasbord film such as this one. You have x-number of pretty young women, have them wear skimpy outfits, do “daring stuff” and let us see what happens. Of its cast, only one made it big: Dina Bonnevie (who happened to be an FHM Covergirl well into her….uhm….40s?)

The budgetary limitations are evident by the “special effects.” A boat on fire in this film is cut and paste to hilarious proportions. Yet, there are ample scenes of catfights in skimpy outfits, wild gyrations in their undies and such.

This movie is soooooo (add number of letter “O’s” to accentuate and exacerbate) bad, that it is good. This is the absolute epitome of camp in Filipino cinema. the acting leaves much to be desired but that does not mean that the ladies were 2-dimensional cardboard cutouts. It is just that they didn’t have budget for an acting coach and the director is pressed to wrap up fast and not be bothered by nuisances like method acting.

beauties on the beach

This movie is built by its lines. the script was not terrible. In fact, it proved to be such a wellspring of witty bitcheries. Add the fact that some of the ladies struggle with its English lines just add to the hilarity (example: Ayaw ko na magbakasyon sa [I don’t want to have a vacation at the] beach [pronounced as ‘bitch ‘]).Here is a rundown of my favorite lines:

Remember mahirap i-achieve ang golden tan.

Hay kagabi, compose na compose byuti ko. Ngayon nagdi-decompose na!

It’s Miss Manila Sunshine, not Miss Manila Sunstroke.

Minsan ka lang naging survivor, komunista ka na.

Mas importante pa ba ang budget kaysa birthday ko?

Maraming klaseng puta: bigtime at small time.

Everybody needs a shipwreck once in a while

…and, trust me, there are more. The lines are best delivered in a contrived Taglish and defiant of appropriate translation.

I was so happy that a colleague of mine has a VCD copy of the movie. It’s an original, not pirated, mind you. He bought it at one of those sales bins from dying video shops. He makes his students watch this film. Almost always, there are those who take it seriously and froth at the end and say “it’s a BAD film.” He would say, they missed the point. Again, this movie is so bad, it’s actually good…a veritable dictum of camp culture.

He lent it to me and it was the perfect way for me to cap Friday the 13th, the last day from a week of stress and strains. This is the first Filipino film I watched in my laptop and I made copies into my desktop. Why? If depression hits, I just double click the files to my schadenfreude therapy.

How can you hate a movie with scenes like these?

VOGUE!!!!!!!

Kids, this was how to pose for the camera back then. Don’t try this at home… only professionals can pull this off.

And here is one of the host for the Miss Manila Sunshine Beauty Pageant:

WORK IT!!!!!!

I love her for her asymmetrical bouffant. I am blinded by her mutant flower print. This, by the way and according to IMDB, is Bibeth Orteza. She became one of the Philippines’ better script writers. I love her more because of her role in this film classic.Oh…how about the hallucinations?!?!

i want some of that, too!

You are stuck on a desert island and you can think about is dessert! That giant ice cream cone may well be the Philippines’ first blatantly phallic symbol in cinema. Trust me, the hallucinations get worse and funnier.

The movie has its slew of stereotypes in hackneyed plots: the demanding socialite beauty queen, the oppressed maid, the man with a shady past, the willowy but flamboyant homosexual, the innocent girl, the cute boy, the conniving crook (she pronounced it as ‘kruk’), the “I’m doing this for the money” girl, the proletariat in love with somebody that outclasses him…and the entire story can be summed up in four sentences, even less.

This movie has a special place in Filipino cinema history. It is kept alive by the incessant buzz from homosexuals emulating the onscreen bitchery. Even young upcoming filmmakers and film-lovers hear of this movie, this siren song of cinematic trainwreck…and their curiosity gets piqued.

It is part of a pantheon of Filipino arts heralding the magnificence of a disaster.

I leave you now with my most favorite line in this movie: “Walang Tubig, walang pagkain, edi magsayaw na lang tayo.” (No water, no food, let’s dance instead!) This is so Filipino…. we’re suffering, but we can still party.

Behold!!! THE MOST FANTASTIC DANCE SEQUENCE IN THE HISTORY OF FILIPINO FILMS!!!!

Oh. My. God.

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Responses

  1. Oh I get it. It was the Philippine cinema’s answer to the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

    Do you think we can get cult fanatics to go out to the beach on a certain day every year and enact that dancing scene? It can also be the Philippines’ version of the Time Warp Dance. 🙂

    I get first dibs on the ditzy chick in the red dress who just keeps on dancing mindlessly while those other crazy beetches roll over and claw each other to the bitter end.

  2. Nalalaloka!!!

  3. northwolf, i don’t think you can compare this to rocky horror picture show. that movie has quite a number of saving graces: susan sarandon….tim curry…. meatloaf… the sense of production and that movie was self-conscious enough to make it SEEM bad…..or SEEM grotesque. Rocky Horror Picture Show WANTED to be like a pulp-ish horror flick from the 50s.

    Temptation Island is the collapse of taste and aesthetics. In Manila, occasionally, film and art students and professors would discuss this…the reenactment would be from the gays and it is always a delight to watch….

    The compass: nakakaloka ang spelling mo sa “nakakaloka.”

  4. Sold!!!

    That is one wicked-looking ice cream cone!

    Nyahahaha.

    Burn me a copy on the 28th please.

    🙂

  5. Btw, I have respect for the director who had the balls to take a bad script and run with it.

    I’d take this over Titanic, that big bad Hollywood shipwreck flick, any day.

  6. wagi! hahaha

  7. I agree with Faye! I can’t believe I even watched Titanic of Leonardo di Caprio back in college! I feel so pathetic right now! And yes, nakakaloka ang spelling ko when I am enjoying myself. Nalalaloka!!!

  8. whahahaahhahahaa!! what in ghey hell?!? nagulat ako nyung sinampal bigla hahaha. hinde ko pa kasi napapanood itech pero mukhang interested ako. hehe

    btw sir chong share ko lang itong video na nakita ko.

    nag audition yang dalawang yan para dun sa amazing race asia 2. hehehe.

  9. (read as spelled)

    “I’m a cruk… a dam gud cruk…”

    My unforgettable line. Let’s watch it again… serious ha? 😉

  10. ahahahaha! this is effing hilarious!

    i wish i could watch the entire thing!

  11. I am in tears! Grabe Chong!

  12. Sir, eventhough you have discussed this Temptation Island Movie as “the best” movie in Philippine Cinema because of its “worst” concept ever and I know the intellectual punchline behind it, it still makes me laugh to death right now while I’m reading this blog…. hahaha (to the max)…

    Sir, where can I get a copy of this movie? I want to watch the whole movie… Nakakabitin ung video clip last sem… haaay… gusto kong sumabog lalo sa kakatawa… Especially this time of my life that I guess will be the start of my serious life… hehehe…

    Thanks for the support during my campaign days in the Student council elections…

    🙂


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