Sa Gabing Nanahimik ang mga Kuliglig: An Ode to Sinners


photo from the official Facebook fan page of Cinemalaya Organizing Committee

THE SEAL of Confession is what binds the priest from the sins that a penitent confesses. No matter how grave or life-altering a sin is, the priests are obliged to not disclose the information that they hear inside the confessional. Yet unintentionally, the Seal serves a bigger purpose than what it is destined for; it becomes the guarantee that is meant to ensure the safety of a sinner’s dirty secret.

This is the struggle that Father Romi (Jake Macapagal) faces, upon Magda Lagdameo’s (Angel Aquino) alarming confession of murder. Her confession soon twirls the entire village into a whirlwind of chaos—where even the family of her victim becomes involved. Moreover, her confession challenges Father Romi to choose between adhering to his vows as a man of the Church, or to act on his duties as a citizen who must abide to the law.

Sa Gabing Nanahimik ang mga Kuliglig’s appeal circulates around how each of the characters deal with sin; the guilt and the lack of regret, the journey to redemption, and the effects of being consumed by the absence of retribution. The following ideas were manifested in scenes such as Magda praying, and imagining that she is carrying a literal cross, and Father Romi falling asleep, only to dream of uncovering his dead body that is buried in the ground.

The film also highlights the separation of the Church and the State—a constant theme that stabilizes the film’s entire story line. This idea materializes in the characters of Father Romi, and Rene, the assigned police officer in the murder case. Both of the characters struggle toward their respective roles to avoid the clash of the things that they represent.

Heavy with dark and sepia tones, and with consistent medium shots, the film establishes and maintains a distinct vibe where mystery meets eerie. The film also uses religion as its most pivotal component: where prayers are narrated to parallel the situations in each of the characters’ lives and to hint their journey to atonement and redemption. The characters struggle as they are shackled by their sins and by how they feel no regret over the sins they have committed.

An entry in this year’s Cinemalaya, Iar Lionel Arondaing’s Sa Gabing Nanahimik ang mga Kuliglig is an exposé of the human nature to sin. It does not simply represent what the characters think upon committing a wrong act but it also explores the reality of committing a sin—that some strive to atone and redeem themselves while others feel no regret because whatever they did, they believed that it was right. Some remain neutral—with their silence aiding either the oppressor or the victim. F

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