Written and directed by JP Habac
CineFilipino Film Festival 2016
When you grow old, do you look forward to waking up to another morning? Or are you simply waiting to expire?
Oktopus opens with elderly Kurding and Hermie fooling around while on a cheap merry-go-round of sorts in a rural amusement park. Krding keeps on messing with Hermie, mentioning that she’ll jump from the ride as soon as she reaches it’s maximum height. Hermie is not exactly too keen on the idea, and warns Kurding that her banter is making her nervous.
Hermie apparently dies from the nerves the ride gave her old and weary heart, and her friends Kurding, Sera, and Pacita mourn her loss. Each of them has their own way of mourning, with Kurding prioritizing having the children step over the coffin to make sure they don’t follow Hermie’s passing. It is a common superstition in the provinces that children might follow the dead to the afterlife if they don’t step over the coffin of the dead they are witnessing to be buried.
The three friends, with Kurding’s grandson Benok tagging along, go home to drink coconut wine and reminisce moments they had with their deceased friend. They go ahead and contemplate when and how they will die. Benok even kids her grandmother about her own death, and Kurding castigates him for it.
The movie ends with Kurding, this time with Benok, back in the amusement park and sitting on a bench while staring at the Oktopus. Bedok tells her grandmother to go ahead and give the ride another try, since she’s already old enough and should be able to do it for the sake of enjoyment.
The film in itself is very existentialist, and brings to mind some questions about your mortality. The elderly women’s banter about their own life and eventual death, even if macabre to some, elicits quite a number of laughs due to the sarcastic delivery. The fact that the group of friends are also currently on their twilight years magnifies the impression that death is not as daunting as it should be, and you can face it with the ardor of someone who has lived long enough to know.