Sinag Maynila: ‘T.P.O.’ explores domestic violence
What will it take for an abuser to stop being one?
In Joselito Altarejos’ “T. P. O. (Temporary Protection Order)”, a cycle of domestic violence between an abusive husband Miguel (Oliver Aquino) and a battered wife Teresa (Mara Lopez) is explored.
The film is one of the five full-length features in competition at the second Sinag Maynila Film Festival this month.
Altarejos told INQUIRER.net a gist of the storyline: After a night of beating, Teresa sought a temporary protection order against Miguel. The parents of Miguel, meanwhile, urged him to gain custody of his son JR (Micko Laurente).
“It’s a very simple film,” the director said. “A tug-of-war of familial rights…who really is the victim in this kind of set-up?”
He likened his treatment of the material to “a court that just appreciates the facts.”
“The approach is very distant,” he said. “The visual style I did is also different. Static cinema…long takes.”
Altajeros has directed gender-oriented films since 2007, including his last opus “Kasal,” which won Best Picture at the Cinemalaya Directors Showcase category in 2014.
It seems he has now shifted gears and started to create films that explore violence against specific genders.
T. P. O. is Altarejos’ second film that tackles domestic abuse. The first one, “Siklo”, which also stars Oliver Aquino, had its special screening at the 3rd Singkuwento International Film Festival last February.
“I’m hoping to do the third one for the trilogy because after LGBT rights, what else is close to my heart than women and children’s rights,” he said.
“There are a lot of victims of this phenomenon,” he said, noting the significance of digging into his chosen theme.
“In T. P. O., I also show the psychology of the abuser because I believe, there will be no victim if there is no abuser,” the director explained.
He recognized that people could never stop the cycle of abuse until they understand where it starts.
“Domestic abuse doesn’t begin and end with the victim. I believe it begins and ends with the victimizer,” he said.
Other cast members of T. P. O. are Dexter Doria, Menggie Cobarrubias, Yayo Aguila, Monti Parungao, Lex Bonife, Ray An Dulay, May delos Santos, Annelle Durano and Atty. Cecille Soria.
The Sinag Maynila Film Festival will run from April 21-26 at SM Megamall, SM Aura Premier, SM North Edsa, SM Mall Of Asia and SM Manila.
The other full-length features in competition are “Dyamper” by Mes de Guzman, “Mrs.” By Adolf Alix jr., “Expressway” by Ato Baustista, and “Lila” by Gino Santos.
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