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July 30, 2007 | by  | in Film | [ssba]


Watching Tuli is the ultimate dichotomy; you will either be bored as hell or interested beyond measure. I fall into the latter category. In second year, I wrote an essay on the Philippines, concluding that the island nation was perhaps the biggest contradiction I had ever encountered. It is the only Asian Catholic country, where B-grade actors become presidents and the inhabitants rampantly imbibe western commodities such as junk food, without the McSalad backlash which every other country in the world is experiencing. Take, for example, the plot in Tuli.

Daisy, our heroine, is bored in her tiny, backward village, where her alcoholic father continually pressures her to marry one of the village losers. Her best friend, Botchok, gets pregnant, provoking a scandal, her miscarriage, and the father to run off. Disillusioned, the two move in together and begin a lesbian relationship. Hearing them at it though the bamboo walls, Daisy’s father promptly dies.

Hoping to cheer up Daisy’s mother, the girls decide Daisy should have a baby, so she runs off and sleeps with the only uncircumcised male around. It doesn’t stop there. Though the camera work is basic to say the least, the acting amateurish and the music particularly atonal, this film is much more than a mere curiosity. There is something genuinely touching and bumblingly brilliant about Tuli. If that fails, you can watch it as a jet-black comedy. Whatever, it tore my head off.


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