Released in 2019, Chris Martinez’s ‘Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 3: The Real Untold Story of Josephine Bracken’ is the continuation of his films, ‘Ang Babae sa Septic Tank (2011)’ and ‘Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2: #ForeverIsNotEnough (2016)’. The mockumentary series revolves around Eugene Domingo (herself) who decided to become a film director. However, Eugene found the transition challenging – not just for herself, but also for everyone she worked with.
Here are 5 times ‘Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 3’ got way too real
Despite being sudden, Eugene became a film director because she had connections in the industry.
In the mockumentary series, Eugene Domingo introduced herself as an established actress. She listed her achievements, along with the prominent people whom she worked with in the past. Based on the series, Eugene immediately managed to get the renowned director and scriptwriter Joey Reyes (played by himself) onboard. Her transition to becoming a director happened because she had ties within the industry. But while it’s true that she is capable of becoming a director, her actions throughout the series said otherwise.
Through Eugene, power-tripping is shown to be rampant in every industry.
Being the director of her film ‘The Real Untold Story of Josephine Bracken’, Eugene held authority and power. Her position allowed her to manipulate situations wherein she would benefit the most. For example, Eugene promised her close friend Mylene Dizon (played by herself) a role in the film even before the auditions began. In Episode 2, Mercedes Cabral (herself) auditioned. Eugene got intimidated as Mercedes had attended the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Through her power as a director, Eugene pretended not to know Mercedes, in an attempt to embarrass the latter.
From the get-go, Eugene admitted that her directorial debut film, ‘The Real Untold Story of Josephine Bracken’, was to become her legacy in the Philippine cinema.
Episode 1 began with Eugene narrating how she arrived at her decision of becoming a director. She mentioned how she wanted to leave a mark in the film industry, even citing award-winning Filipino directors like Joel Lamangan and Peque Gallaga. Now, generally, films could be self-serving because the cinema is a venue for self-expression. This, however, does not apply to Eugene’s film. She wanted to create a historical film centered on Josephine Bracken (to be played by her), Jose Rizal’s former lover. Labeled as a historical film, Eugene needed to follow certain ethical restrictions (to be discussed later on), limiting her creative license to produce her ‘legacy’.
Eugene refused to listen to the very people she hired to help her.
In the fourth episode, Eugene and Mylene argued. The argument stemmed from Mylene not getting the role Eugene promised. Mylene wanted to play Narcisa, Rizal’s favorite sister, but Eugene gave the part to Joanna Ampil (played by herself). Up until Episode 4, Mylene kept being lax with her role, Saturnina. Her aloofness and indifference eventually led to an argument with Eugene. In the heat of their fight, Mylene tells Eugene,
I’ve worked with so many, so many first timers. Pare-pareho lang kayong lahat, you think you know everything. Ang sa-stubborn ninyo. The idea of collaborating with your artists, it repulses you, pero sana. . . kung makikinig lang kayo sa artista niyo, kung magiging bukas lang sana kayo. . . marami kayong matututunan at baka gumanda pa ‘yang pelikula niyo. There, I said it.
Apart from this scene with Mylene, Eugene’s stubbornness was shown during the editing process. She hired Mother Jewel (played by Joel Saracho) as the costume designer, Marlon (Brian Sy) as the film colorist, and renowned editor Tara Illenberger (herself). Despite acquiring the services of the “best of the best”, her words, Eugene refused to entertain their suggestions.
Eugene revised history through her film, under the guise of her ‘creative license’ as a director.
The final episode of the mockumentary series focused on the premiere night of ‘The Real Untold Story of Josephine Bracken’. From the decorations to the attires of the attendees, the concept was solid. Eugene invited the Rizalistas, a group dedicated to the divinity of Jose Rizal, for free promotion. Her decision, later on, backfired after the film presentation. As pointed out by the Rizalistas, Eugene had distorted history by casting herself as Josephine, who was described as Caucasian. Apart from the problem with casting, she also inserted scenes that did not happen according to historical documents.
The Rizalistas confronted Eugene regarding her historical distortion. Their leader (played by Dolly De Leon) screams,
Ang kasaysayan ay katotohanan. Walang ibang bersyon ang katotohanan.
Instead of acknowledging and apologizing for her mistake, Eugene Domingo defended herself by reiterating that her film was “fictional”. She might be correct that she has a creative license but she should have honored that that license has limitations – especially because her film was historical.
Overall, the mockumentary series might be marketed as fictional but its message continues to be true, relevant, and timeless. As of writing, ‘Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 3’ is available on Netflix and IWantTFC.
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If Florence is not busy with her school works, then she is probably binge-watching TV series and films. She finds it easier to write with the help of playlists she curated. However, she is still looking for the balance between fiction writing and journalism. Because she likes both, she tries to do both even if their techniques and concepts could not be farther from each other.