Saturday, September 19, 2009

Give the Devil His Due

This is the last Cine Europa film I will be watching. I also wanted to watch "Just Another Love Story" but there was a very long queue and the tickets were all out when I was almost at the booth. Muntik na akong maabutan ng tickets pero wala na talaga...nyemas!

The film that I was able to watch was from the Czech Republic and featured the Devil as the protagonist, fairy godmother, and dispenser of justice. The story was made out to be a fairy tale, with all the usual conventions: evil stepmother, various challenges to be hurdled by the protagonist, a love story, etc. but what I found interesting was the role of the Devil as social arbiter and equalizer.

Here the Devil (aka Lucifer XIV) sends his minions to claim sinners. The movie, however, presents this in a positive way as the Devil seems to have a liking for greedy people. Putting this in the context of the film, which was released in the 1980s, this seems like an attempt at social commentary. There are implicit criticisms of the “higher” class (greedy, snobbish), the military (inept, venal), government (ditto), and even war (motivated by greed) in this film, and a sympathetic take on the plight of the working class. The Devil and his minions are portrayed as agents of social justice who punish those in power who use their influence to disenfranchise and abuse their fellowmen. Parang familiar ito ah…

Despite the clunky special effects (pasensyahan niyo na 1980s pa kasi) the film was an enjoyable experience. And, as all fairytales go, the guy got his girl, the poor became rich, and the Devil got his due.

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