Simplicity could have been the biggest virtue of Tatlong Bibe but instead, it became a liability.
The movie centers on Noah (Marco Masa), a boy who has been left by his mother (Angel Aquino) under the care of an aunt (Rita Avila) who isn't really intent on caring for him. Noah becomes the caretaker of 3 abandoned ducks whose fates are conveniently connected to the extraneous stories in the film.
To be fair to Joven Tan, who both wrote and directed the film, some of the stories have real promise. The story of an aging drunkard (Eddie Garcia) and his bored wife (Dionisia Pacquiao) who can’t seem to connect in the twilight of their married life has some delicate moments. Also, the story of the hardworking vendor (Anita Linda) who walks miles just to support her paralyzed husband is mildly affecting.
Unfortunately, Tatlong Bibe is burdened by a questionable need to tell so many stories, no matter how uncomplicated and simple they are. The thread that connects all of the stories however is flimsy. Everything is grounded on sheer convenience.
Interestingly, Tatlong Bibe seems to be Tan’s most technically polished film.
Ian Marasigan’s cinematography is consistently handsome. Its visual design evokes most of the pain and ache the film’s screenplay barely musters. There are times when the film looks almost too sophisticated, making everything else feel like a letdown. Paulo Zarate’s music services the story too comfortably, lining up every emotion that the film hopes its audience will feel.
The film manages to connect all the dots but it doesn’t do so with the requisite earnestness to be truly memorable.
Tatlong Bibe is as convincing as an afternoon melodrama, a made-for-television special that espouses hollow morality without really delving on the complexities of real life. It only uplifts by virtue of its phony simplicity. It might seem like the film is saying a lot and what it is saying matters but with all the confusion of its disparate stories and intentions, something gets lost and squandered. – Rappler.com
Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas’ 'Tirad Pass.' Since then, he’s been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema.