I have seen about 8 Filipino films before, but this was my first Mike De Leon film. I plan to see some more and I have a feeling that they will all be as didactic as this one was. It’s somewhere between a Stanley Kramer message picture like Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner? and that speech read to the camera in Godard’s Weekend.
The film follows the social and political awakening of a nun named Sister Stella. She starts out a green nun who can barely hold her own with Gigi, an unwed mother being helped by the convent. She then takes an interest in a local strike and decides to check it out. Soon she is picketing and when the union leader is murdered she is passed the point of no return. The film doesn’t end with a solution to the strike. Rather it’s meant to expose the situation of the workers and be a call to arms. Particularly on the grounds that it is the Christian thing to do.
The problem with the film is that it sacrifices story and character for a message instead of having that message arise naturally from the story and characters. Everything feels straight out of the union movie playbook. As a result, you feel preached to rather than moved to action.
Nevertheless, this is worth a look.