All of life’s ironies in Santa Niña

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Ten years after the town of Bacolor was buried in lahar, Pol (Coco Martin) unexpectedly finds the lost coffin of his two-year-old daughter Marikit at the lahar quarry he works in. Her remains are unchanged, perfectly preserved a decade after she died from meningitis.

Pol takes the coffin home, not knowing what to do. But his ignorance vanishes after a chain of events makes him think Marikit has done enough miracles to be called a saint.

Director Emmanuel "Manny" Palo's strength lies in telling a story about family, death, life, the Filipino's inherent adherence to religion, and faith's ironies as beliefs are placed next to tragedies and pain.

Coco Martin, Alessandra da Rossi and Anita Linda make up a powerhouse cast capable of the subtleties that make the person disappear and the character to take over.

Faith and personal gain

"Santa Niña" asks the question, "do I dare?" in juxtaposing faith and the faithful's innocent attempt at personal gain. Pol wants Marikit canonized because of his own ambitions. Madel (Alessandra), Marikit's estranged mother, tries to find an answer by confronting the town's former miracle, Melchor, whose character seems to be based on Judiel Nieva, a 16-year-old seer who claims to have seen a vision of the Virgin Mary in Agoo, La Union more than a decade ago.

Melchor, for his part, brings his aunt to Marikit for a miracle.

The story, at times, becomes too close to soap opera melodrama with its heavy dialogue over-supplementing the already rich imagery. The faraway stares sometimes linger too long. But it arrives at a gloriously moving third act that seems to justify all the melodrama the viewer sees.

Editor's note: The blogger's views do not represent Yahoo! Southeast Asia's position on the topic or issue being discussed in this blog.

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