The iWant original series “Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank 3,” the latest in the iconic “Septic” trilogy, is a seven-part mockumentary series that does more than make audiences laugh. While its first and second installments satirized the indie film industry and the predictability of romantic-comedy tropes, the third makes a statement and show uncanny and haunting similarities to the world’s current socio-political climate.
Having “conquered” the world of acting, Eugene Domingo’s character attempts to push her boundaries as an artist by directing, starring in, and producing her own film about Josephine Bracken–famously known as national hero Jose Rizal’s mysterious lover. Direk Euge’s journey in producing “The Real Untold Story of Josephine Bracken” is a comedic one that ultimately ends in disaster, but what stands out more than her ridiculous persona is the character’s allusion to the role people play in producing fake news and revising history.
“Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank 3” has struck both a comedic yet serious chord among iWant users. Here are some scenes that show how the third installment makes the audience laugh out loud, think, and question the “truth” around them all at once. (Spoilers ahead!)
This initial scene of introspection, where Direk Euge explains why she is so insistent on pursuing the creation of a historical film about Jose Rizal.
First of all, same.
Second of all, Direk Euge’s sole focus on furthering her career as an artist makes viewers question her true intentions: Are they pure? Does she truly want to do Philippine history justice, or is her upcoming film ultimately self-serving?
This casting mishap:
It is here where viewers witness Direk Euge twist history for the first time: by casting herself, a Filipina, to play Josephine Bracken, an Irish-Chinese mestiza woman. The series makes the clever move of contrasting Filipino historian Ambeth Ocampo’s accurate snippets of history with her insistence that she play Josephine Bracken, making her distortions of history even more obvious. Girl, we see you.
Direk Euge’s casting mishap part two: Jose Rizal
Jose Rizal: writer, patriot — and thirst-trapping national hero?
Rather than casting Lao Rodriguez, an actor who has studied the ins and outs of Rizal’s persona, Uge goes with Tony Labrusca to play the role. Hooked by his shiny white teeth and muscular body, Direk Euge casts him because of her attraction to him. At this point, we can already can tell that historical accuracy is barely a priority.
Just a pop of color
Direk Euge demands that the cast’s costumes be composed of muted earth tones, while she stands out donning a cardinal pink dress, using her power as the film’s director and producer in order to make sure that the spotlight is on her.
When Jose Met Josephine: Wood-chopping hunk meets Irish beauty
Supposedly portraying what is supposed to be a low-key first meeting between Jose Rizal and his future paramour, Direk Euge insists that their meeting be a hotbed of meaningful glances and sexual tension. At this point in the series, we do not only get used to Uge’s distortions of history, but expect it. No longer is “The Real Untold Story of Josephine Bracken” a historical biopic; it’s a romantic film about the new-and-improved Jose Rizal and his demure lover.
When Direk Euge goes overboard with the waterworks
Are we filming a historical biopic or a melodramatic soap opera? In a scene where Rizal suspects Josephine of being a spy, Eugene refuses to hold back the hysterics. We are quick to perceive that her real intention is not to provide justice to Rizal and Bracken’s history, but to show off her acting skills.
Meanwhile, Sir Joey or Jose Javier Reyes, Direk Euge’s screenwriter, says out loud what we’re all thinking:
When Direk Euge rewrites the script to make room for an unnecessary confrontation scene
Direk Euge’s deliberate distortions of history done for her own benefit become increasingly obvious when she insists on a confrontation scene between Josephine and Saturnina, one of Rizal’s sisters. Despite Direk Joey’s disapproval (“It never happened!!!”) and Ambeth Ocampo’s assertion that it never took place, Direk Euge proceeds to write the scene anyway.
When things get (way too) up close and personal
Direk Euge is deeply dissatisfied with the initial editing of the film, complaining that the “mood” is simply off. But is it really what she is so upset about, or the lack of her–I mean, Josephine’s–close-ups?
When the focus group discussion about the biopic becomes too real
Here we have discerning consumers of media who say out loud what is obvious: the biopic is an abuse of creative license.
And that… is the tea.
The series’ message is crystal clear in its chilling final scene. Uge’s audience members--a mix of flabbergasted film critics my self included, and livid Rizalistas–express their anger toward’s Direk Euge’s dramatic alteration of Rizal and Bracken’s history.
No longer is “Ang Babae Sa Septic 3” funny; audiences now perceive how painfully close to home it is – we are indeed living in a dangerous time of fake news, historical revisionism, and people abusing their power for their own benefit.
Go off, sis!
Stay woke! Stream all the episodes of “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 3: The Real Untold Story of Josephine Bracken,” written by Chris Martinez and directed by Marlon Rivera, on the iWant app (iOS and Android) or on iwant.ph.