The MMFF Already Released Its Most Interesting 'Film' (Starring Sec. Francis Tolentino)
Forget Eddie Garcia in Rainbow Sunset, Anne Curtis in Aurora, or any other of the eight films in this year's Metro Manila Film Festival. The surprise hit of the annual festival just might be a little short starring Secretary Francis N. Tolentino.
The 30-second clip, which is simply titled MMFF, starts innoucously enough with the good secretary, positioned in front of an animated background, inviting everyone and all to watch the movies of the December festival.
Then, the setting shifts into the interior of a movie theater, in which the unthinkable happens: Tolentino, who is currently the presidential adviser on political affairs, raises both arms to one side to form the unmistakable gesture of that plague called a dab.
What follows is more confusion as the flesh-and-blood Tolentino transforms into a cartoon in the style of a bobblehead.
Now, Cartoon Tolentino, standing on a giant film reel, proceeds to introduce the films, whose cast appear as they are announced. But the interesting thing is that he only mentions Fantastica, Popoy and Jack (it's actually Jack Em Popoy: The Puliscredibles, but let's not talk about it), Girl in the Orange Dress, and Aurora and then lump the rest of the entries as “...may apat pang kasunod.”
And just when you think this comedy-horror-mystery is over, this amazing thing happens:
Still inside the theater and on that flying saucer reel, Tolentino and all the animated stars stand in front of the Philippine flag as four jetfighters fly in opposite directions. This is the visual as he proclaims how watching Filipino movies is for the Filipinos, so of course we need the power of jets.
Is it finally over, mommy?
Nope. The dab plagues us again in double time and then the video mercifully ends with the real Tolentino hitching a ride on an animated jeepney by doing a “sabit.” (Hey MMDA, that's illegal, right?)
See it here:
The really, really interesting thing about this clip is its very existence. Why is Tolentino the star of MMFF when he is not anymore the chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority, the organizer of the festival?
We can only parse the signs: Tolentino is seeking a senatorial seat in 2019. This clip, which prominently features him, is playing in theaters. There are lot of eyeballs trained on whatever's playing before a featured movie. Barbecue-flavored popcorn is superior to cheese. (Forget that last one.)
We're not going to be nitpicky about the other interesting things like how the video feels homespun? Or how it may imply the endorsement of famous actors by having their avatars appear behind the candidate. Or how he may be campaigning too early—which is not illegal anymore.
But we do have to go back to one important thing: the dabbing. Tolentino should have tucked his head into the crook of his raised arms. If he couldn't do the dab correctly then he, a grown man and government official, should not have done any of these at all.