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Thursday, May 5, 2016


"Nympha" (1971)
Joy Productions
Release Date February 27, 1971/ Crown, Gaeity, Grand, Ace
Serialized in Espesyal Komiks
Story Deo Villegas
Screenplay D.G. Dumaraos
Producer Juanita S. Proximo
Direction Celso Ad Castillo
Cast Rizza, Philip Gamboa, Bella Flores, Romy Diaz/ Introducing Ronaldo Ruiz, Dan Zaragoza

  A blockbuster during its theater run

The URIAN Anthology 1970-1979

The bomba movie may be classified into two types: hard pornography, and the “art Film.” Celso Ad. Castillo’s Nympha is an example of the latter, but its defective structure prevents the director from conveying his message artistically.

begins and ends with a scene in the cemetery where a group of people are standing around a tomb under the rain. The movie as a whole is an exposition of the events in Nympha’s life that lead to this scene. Nympha is a young girl reared and morally sheltered by a hypocritically pious elder female relative. The girl’s blind piety, however, is ripped apart by her sudden awareness of the sexually-charged environment and by her own first love affair. Eventually, she goes from man to man, driven by her demonic desires. Her unwanted pregnancy finally leads to a gory, fatal abortion.

Castillo’s structure is untenable. Enveloping scenes from Nympha’s life within the cemetery scene is unnecessary. First, it is the director himself, not any of the characters, who assumes the narrative viewpoint; and, second, the cemetery scene is not credible--- the people stand there for an unbelievably long time, and under the rain at that.

Because of this structure, the director forgot to pursue the movie’s thematic conflict, which is, hypocritical morality versus a sexually promiscuous world. As a result, there are gaps in the story, and inconsistencies between psychological make-up of the characters, and their behavior. Lastly, while the movie clearly disapproves of moralistic hypocrisy, it ironically insists on its own ethical standards. Thus, it objects to abortion. But then, the Philippines is a Catholic country, isn’t it?

---More on the article, click images above---

Article source: “Nympha: Umano'y Sining” by Clodualdo del Mundo, Jr., originally published in Pilipino Reporter, 1971/ compiled in the book, The URIAN Anthology 1970-1979

1 comment:

TheCoolCanadian said...

I have seen this film as well and I'd say that Celso Ad Castillo tried to make it as artistically possible as he could. Good performances from the actors made a lot of difference compared to Uhaw, but Uhaw looked more original (maybe novel is a more appropriate word for it) than this one.

While it's true that this film was more thematic (and therefore focuses more on the character's reactions to what's happening to her surroundings rather than on the storyline), it is still nevertheless very powerful, and the viewer leaves the theater truly affected by its visual and moral impact.

Like what the critic has claimed in the article, it was rather wishy-washy of Mr. Castillo to have some sort of double standard morality (the hypocrite side with their unabashed religiosity and Celso's personal opinion), but despite this little inconsistency, the film is still one heck of a real kicker. Every unfolding event that threatens the main character is like a swinging pendulum that's getting closer and closer, until it finally got her, and did it ever get get big time!

I consider Nympha as one of Celso's best films, never mind the over-extended scene in the cemetery which could have been cut 1/10th of it's total run time, and I forgive him for expressing his own point of view about morality. After all, Lino Brocka tended to be like that as well, and his films are more lopsided than Celso's.

Doncha think so? Whaddasay guys?


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