“Not Applicable” Review
Written and Directed by Carl Adrian Chavez
CineFilipino Film Festival 2016
Elsa, an overweight and highly unattractive call centre agent, gets a surprise visit from someone she’d rather not see ever: her half-sister Anna. Anna comes bearing gifts, replacing the wilted flowers from Elsa’s vase with fresh ones from a bouquet she brought with her, and hands Elsa with a cake. She then goes ahead and initiates banter with her older half-sister, asking her about her age, career, and about the one person Elsa does not want to talk about: their unemployed, unscrupulous, womanizing father. Elsa manages to painfully squeeze out a response to every question with as much sarcasm and unpleasantness as she can muster, and they soon reach the point to the very reason why Anna tried to reach out to her: she wants to know if their father left her anything on his will.
Elsa leaves her half-sister for a moment to retrieve a document, and returns to tell Anna that what was intended for her was the very dining table they were having the cake on: ornate, fragile, and definitely antique. Anna initially declines due to her having too many tables and too little space, but Elsa insists due to the fact that she wants to get rid of as much history her father has left in the house as soon as possible.
Elsa suddenly has a sudden change of heart after seeing (hallucinating, most likely) a part of the table glint with gold. She suddenly has a vision of the money she can get out of the table if she keeps it for herself, and in fact even gets haunted by her father; but decides to ignore the apparition. She then proceeds to work on trying to sway Anna to change her mind (since she already arranged to have the tabled moved the same day).
Not Applicable as a film is simply a story about how the effects of infidelity sends ripples of unpleasantness even in the adulthood of the children born out of said infidelity. The actors did a brilliant job of portraying the hurt and the indignation one can feel out of seeing (and conversing) to the result of your own father’s betrayal, and the loss of something you think you should be entitled to. At the end of the day, no one wins. Everyone loses.