Doji, Joy, and I watched Last Supper No. 3 at the CCP last night. It was the only other film that I was really looking forward to, and was my first choice for viewing as early as last week, if only I was able to reserve tickets. As luck would have it, of course, we ended up with Dinig Sana Kita.

Last Supper‘s premise resembles that of what Bob Sutton, author of the popular book The No Asshole Rule, would probably describe as “a snake pit teeming with assholes,” and it effectively shows the dizzyingly, despicably corrupt Philippine justice system. If you have followed how landmark cases, such as the Bernard Madoff affair, get resolved in a matter of months, then you would despair at the sluggish pace that an estafa case around an advert prop worth less than $500 stretched to over two years and cost the defendant nearly double the amount because of lawyer appearance fees, bribes, and lost productive hours.

Wilson, an advertising production designer, is tasked to look for a Last Supper as a prop for a corned beef commercial that targets the C-market. Three Last Suppers fall on the shortlist, but only one is chosen. During shooting, the third Last Supper gets lost, and thus Wilson’s troubles start. He tries to pay off Gareth, the owner of the lost prop, but Gareth wants more for the loss, supposedly because of its sentimental value. Last Supper number three is a gift from his uncle and was bought in Saudi Arabia, of all places.

When they fail to settle the issue at the Barangay (village) level, Gareth tries to box Wilson, but gets punched in the face instead by Wilson’s friend and assistant. Thus, on top of estafa, he also has to deal with serious physical injury, and both cases will net him seven years in jail if proven guilty. At the city fiscal’s office, they agree to settle the case for P10,000, payable in installments for 90 days. Wilson settles everything within the agreed time frame, but just when he thinks his troubles are over, he receives a court order for failure to attend a hearing. It comes with an arrest warrant.

Last Supper is a solid film with a solid storyline, which is based on a true to life story. The way the filmmakers told Wilson’s tale is admirable, such that we see not only the corruption within the justice system, but also the suffering that its victims go through, while at the same time laughing at the foilies of both system and its players. Wilson’s only failure is in not knowing how it works, and what a lesson he learned by experience. I wonder if he had known it would cost him so much more in terms of lost work hours, lawyers’ fees, bribes, and the troubles of commuting between shooting locations and court hearings, he would have opted to give the money that Gareth and his mom asked. But Wilson has more than just innocence to spare him from serving jail time so survives to tell the tale – at Cinemalaya.

The story is real and it happens everyday to thousands of people figuring out the murky ways that legal problems are settled in this country. But Last Supper tells it so hilariously that you will feel sorry for Wilson while laughing at his experience. That’s how we all deal with our troubles and what keeps our sanity afloat: we deal with them one at a time, and then look back laughing because we have survived rich with wisdom at the experience. Acting is top-notch, having seasoned stage actors in lead roles, with Joey Paras as Wilson Nanawa. Maricel Soriano also makes a cameo appearance as a corrupt court assistant.

Rating: 5 Last Suppers. Catch it should it screen in movie theatres because you will miss a lot if you don’t.

Joy and I also watched Dinig Sana Kita again, just so we could be at the gala premiere held at the Main Theatre. I will say it for the nth time, the audience reception was unbelievable. DSK is one crowd-pleasing film, to say the least. After the screening, we opted not to have our photos taken with the lead actors, but got a couple with Robert Sena and the “rock stars,” who were apparently popular as well, though I have no clue on which bands they play. It’s been ages since I frequented rock gigs, so maybe I should see more bands again, to think that Saguijo is just a couple of blocks from my apartment.