Director: Emmanuel Q. Palo
Cast: Coco Martin, Alessandra De Rossi, Anita Linda, Angel Aquino, Irma Adlawan
The film, a finalist in the 2012 Cinemalaya Film Festival, is an examination of faith in a small town that was partly buried under lahar (volcanic emission) a few years ago. Those who chose to remain in the area have learned to pick up the pieces to start their new lives. Pol and Madel lost their two-year-old daughter to meningitis ten years ago. But now, the coffin of the dead child resurfaces in a quarry. The dead child shows no evidence of decomposition. Pol takes his daughter in his house, trying to find explanation why his daughter comes back in preserved state. Soon, the news about the resurgence breaks out and neighbors and diseased people from nearby towns flock to Pol's house hoping for miracle.
Stubborn Pol has other plans. He believes what he wants to believes, dismissing the advice of the local clergy. Soon, we'll discover the Pol and Madel's past and make sense of Pol's behavior. In my opinion, the resurgence of the dead child is a metaphor that forces Pol and every one connected to him to finally face the demons of their past.
In the middle of the film, I couldn't resist comparing the movie to Himala. But the Bernal film had set a high standard for a film tackling a similar topic and Sta, Nina surely pales in comparison with the classic film. But, Sta. Nina has its strengths and a few to improve on. The direction is competent. Performances are excellent, particularly those of Coco Martin, Alessandra De Rossi, and Irma Adlawan. Coco Martin seem to be most effective when giving life to troubled characters on screen.
Date seen: November 29, 2015