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Kakabakaba ka ba? (1980) Online HD

Kakabakaba ka ba?
Kakabakaba ka ba? (1980)
  • Director:
    Mike De Leon
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Clodualdo Del Mundo Jr.,Raquel Villavicencio
  • Cast:
    Christopher De Leon,Charo Santos-Concio,Jay Ilagan
  • Time:
    1h 44min
  • Year:
The film revolves around two couples who find themselves in conflict with the foreign commercial giants that control the Philippine economy, the Japanese and the Chinese.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher De Leon Christopher De Leon - Johnny
Charo Santos-Concio Charo Santos-Concio - Melanie (as Charo Santos)
Jay Ilagan Jay Ilagan - Nonong
Sandy Andolong Sandy Andolong - Nancy
Boboy Garovillo Boboy Garovillo - Omota
Johnny Delgado Johnny Delgado - Pinoy Master
Armida Siguion-Reyna Armida Siguion-Reyna - Madame Lily
Leo Martinez Leo Martinez - Fr. Blanco
Moody Diaz Moody Diaz - Aling Melody / Virgie
Joe Jardi Joe Jardi - Wagner
Danny Javier Danny Javier - Santacruzan
George Javier George Javier - Japanese Master
Nanette Inventor Nanette Inventor - Mother Superior
Bert Miranda Bert Miranda - Chinese Bodyguard 1
Tommy Yap Tommy Yap - Chinese Bodyguard 2

Kakabakaba ka ba? (1980)
Though (or, through) bearing all the stereotypical trademarks of several Filipino film genres, Mike De Leon's Kakabakaba Ka Ba? (1980) might be the most original Filipino film of all time, certainly the most original of its era. Still under Martial Law, progressive Filipino filmmakers had to go the extra creative mile to sidestep censorship, which they had done so with the allegorical, social-realist melodrama. Stepping away from the form that he and his accomplished peers (Lino Brocka, Ishmael Bernal) had become known for, De Leon mixes the campiest elements of Filipino musical, comedy, crime and action flicks, "bomba" films and even science fiction into an amusing satire that stands apart from his darker films like Batch '81 and Kisapmata.

It's an unlikely vehicle for a political allegory about imperialist domination of the Philippines and the Catholic church's complicit role. It works because it's as scathing as it is silly, apparent from the half-serious disclaimers opening the film stating that it is purely fictional (of course it is - which, then, suggests that maybe it isn't).

Interesting watching Filipinos turn the table, stereotyping and mocking other nationalities (and ourselves) for once. A bumbling Japanese Yakuza fails on three separate occasions to smuggle contraband past Philippine customs at the airport. On his latest attempt - a cassette tape laced with opium - he slips the booty into Christopher De Leon's jacket, who then slides through customs unchecked. Things get interesting for De Leon and his three buddies (Charo Santos, Jay Ilagan and Sandy Andolong) as they discover they are being spied on and followed. Everyone from the Yakuza, the Chinese mafia and even the Catholic church are all trying to get their hands on the tape. The conspiracy? A plot to use opium, distributed through communion hosts during mass, to turn the FIlipino people into docile subjects under foreign control (isn't this already happening, but without the drugs?).

The funny title is colloquially untranslatable into English, though its been loosely translated as Does Your Heart Beat Faster? or Are You Nervous? Much of the humor, I suspect, is also untranslatable in all its glorious cornball mannerisms and wit. Every outrageous scene, whether a flock of nuns breaking into song and dance (more than a decade before Sister Act) or the climactic Broadway-inspired number, is well-timed, the satire never losing its aim. Plus, the soundtrack goes hard (is there an official Original Soundtrack release for this film? somebody hook me up!).

As much as we love to sing and dance, and as much as we're struggling to get free, you'd think there would be stacks upon stacks of quality Filipino films that reflect both realities. Nope. There are many escapist musicals and comedies and many political dramas, but Kakabakaba Ka Ba? is the only one of its kind - a political musical satire - which, at first glance is a surprise knowing that it's a Mike De Leon film. Then again, knowing De Leon's cynicism and reputation as the "dark genius" of Philippine cinema, perhaps only he could've pulled it off.
Even Mike de Leon has a sense of humor. This film not only pokes fun at commercial imperialism, but also at the little dictators who control the Philippine economy - the Chinese movie producers and the Catholic church. George Javier stands out as the idol of the imperialist colonizers. He still maintains his bumbling persona, in an unusually somber manner. The animation is put to good use (watch the battle of the subtitles between the Japanese and the Chinese!) A winner all the way!