Chris Martinez’s 100 is one of the most exhausting movies I’ve ever seen. My chest has not experienced that much heaviness, my throat that much clogging and my nose that much snot after seeing it for the first time. It’s a movie that makes my chest heavy because when I see a movie, I try not to get carried away by the drama. I try not to cry because it’s embarrassing unless I’m seeing it alone, at night. It’s different with comedies because with comedies, I willfully subject myself to manic laughter. I let comedies floor me and am unmindful of the short of breath feeling out of laughing too hard. 100 is bad for my weak lungs because it makes me weep and laugh like crazy and often, it does so all at once.
100 is a tricky, great little piece of dramedie. It plays with the emotions but in a way that is unshow-offy, minimalistically and sincerely. It plays key dramatic scenes non-mechanically, ie the scenes seldom get overbearing and distracting dramatic score accompaniment, if at all, unlike every other locally made drama, which is not to spite locally made dramas, it’s just that our Dramatic Films do employ musical score that wishes it were the movie. Film scores that wish you were paying to hear them at the theater with a background movie. In 100, the most important component of such scenes, the performances, are so lifelike, you feel as if you’re watching a real life Mylene Dizon, actually sick and dying and who is really good friends with Eugene Domingo, actually bored with domestic life and funny, which in itself is tricky because Eugene Domingo is funny and her ‘acting’ is consistently caricature defying, the actor and character often times inseparable, and in this film, her performance is, in no need of further telling just how great.
So it looks as if I’m creating another, typical of me that I would create it paean to the great Eugene D but I’m not. I’m merely bored and trying to make use of a very rare opportunity to stay up late and see something I love. I’m not and I do think that this movie belongs to Mylene Dizon. Mylene Dizon is playing Joyce but what she really is in this movie is a goddess who commands every scene. No pointless pigging out sequence is executed without her since soap-starring days naturalness. When she converses with Ryan Eigenmann, you could hear the unmistakable tone of a person talking to the one-that-got-away character, that is, with a slightly higher than normal pitch, concealed elation and guardedness. That’s how you talk with ones that got/get away.
It’s difficult to watch 100 and not weep not because it has super sad scenes but because the movie deals with something that is really, truly sad – death, and the way it goes on about dealing with the anticipation of death looks and feels authentic. Joyce’s pre-death ceremonies look like the sort of activities you could imagine yourself doing whether your life is in any way similar to or extremely opposite hers. Looking for my own casket, bargaining for it, arranging left over bills, making a burial playlist, turning over office work, alienating people in the process, are things I probably would do if I were dying, provided I’m not vegetable.
When Joyce bargains with the Malou Crisologo character regarding the casket’s asking price and burial package, I’m uncertain if I’m moved because I find the exchange sad/funny or because a wealthy career woman arranging her own burial is someone I can channel my death-obsessed self onto. I don’t know that thinking about one’s own death every once in a while qualifies as being death-obsessed. It could be that I’m just amazed at the humor and pathos of arranging one’s own burial as something one should or could do as the film shows. Dying – thinking about it, anticipating it, and succumbing to it, as shown in this film is normal, frightening and ultimately, reassuring.