In Nomine Matris (In The Name of The Mother): On Flamenco and Struggles of Women

“Dance is like a song. You have to mean every word and let it flow.” – Enrique Lagdameo, In Nomine Matris

More than two years ago, I received an invitation from Ida Tiongson to watch a Flamenco show in Makati. I haven’t seen a live Flamenco presentation before that’s why I immediately said yes. Let’s just say that I went home with big appreciation to those who are passionate in doing what they love to do. Let’s admit it: Only a few can dance Flamenco today and the chance to watch a show is quite rare nowadays.

In The Name of the Mother: Ava and Mara expressing their emotions through Flamenco

When I heard that Will Fredo is scheduled to make a film about Flamenco dancers, I find his vision to be ‘too ambitious’. Making a full-length movie takes too much effort and hardwork, but with a good support system and talented people, a dream project is doable.

In Nomine Matris (In the Name of the Mother) is one of the five films that competed for the Metro Manila Film Festival New Wave 2012 section. I am happy that finally, I get the chance to watch this movie. I’ve been asking the people behind the film when they’re planning to release it commercially or even in a limited screening. The trailer was even shown in Cinemalaya 20120’s opening night. I guess timing is everything!

In Nomine Matris is a film that women can relate to, whether you’re a mother, daughter, lover, performer etc. It is quite refreshing to see movie where the main characters express their emotion through Flamenco. You don’t really need to be a dancer to understand what they’re trying to say. Just observe the body movement, facial expression and the stomp of the feet.

Here’s the synopsis of In Nomine Matris:

In the heart of Metro Manila, Mara (Liza Diño), a young dance protégé seeks to land the principal part of a dance company about to embark on a tour. On her quest to land the coveted break, a series of events turned her sense of meaning upside down, and is faced with a life changing decision. She turns to her mentor Mercedes (Clara Ramona) and her mother Ava (Tami Monsod) as she searches for answers in the beautifully loud and endlessly moving world she lives in.

Surely, the film is more than just showcasing Flamenco. Almost every female character in the movie are facing realistic issues that women have to go through. Mara (Liza Dino) is an illegitimate daughter of a politician and ex-flamenco dancer. She is secretly longing for her father’s affection, but she knows deep inside that she’ll end up hurting herself. She wishes to have a perfect family in the future since she was deprived to have one. Her mother Ava (Tami Monsod), is a former flamenco dancer who got pregnant out of wedlock is still hopeful that her ‘true love’ will choose to be with her eventually. Because of her false hopes about love and marriage, she unknowingly pushed her daughter at the edge of the wall.

Flamenco-Filipiniana showcase

Mercedes (Clara Ramona) is an accomplished Flamenco dancer. She is the ‘Queen’ in her field of expertise and young dancers look up to her. Her part in the story reveals on what some women do for the sake of their passion and ambition in life. It may sound a bit harsh, but marriage and being attached to someone can either be an inspiration or distraction to career-oriented individuals. Mercedes have two sons: one is Enrique (Al Gatmaitan), a happy-go-lucky performer who grew up in Spain and Daniel (Biboy Ramirez), the responsible and hardworking younger son of Mercedes who lived with her in Manila. Mothers want the best for their children, but they also need to make a choice for the family.

Clara Ramona in In Nomine Matris

I don’t want to elaborate more on my personal feelings towards the film, but I can say that this is my favorite Will Fredo film. One of the questions that automatically popped in my head is ‘Why do some people torture themselves for being an option when they deserve something better?’ For me, my favorite character in the movie is Mercedes because she is an epitome of a strong-willed woman. She is not perfect, but she knows her worth as a person and won’t settle for anything less. She is a fighter! I also love the scenes of Jam Perez as Nikki especially the ‘kati-kati’ part. A very personal issue delivered in a humorous yet heartbreaking way.

Last December 27, In Nomine Matris bagged two awards: Best Actress for Liza Dino and Most Gender-Sensitive Film . If I heard it right, ‘In Nomine Matris’ will be shown in a film festival somewhere in Europe soon (hopefully in Spain!). Congratulations to Hubo Productions for a job well done! More! 😀


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