SHORT thriller film Bangsak shed light on the prevalent and pressing issues on mental health.
Named after a Filipino childhood street game played akin to hide-and-seek, it is a portmanteau of the words “bang” (sound of a gun) and sak (“saksak” in Filipino or to stab with a knife).
Bangsak tells the story through the lenses of a boy named Sid (Lief Laraño) who lost his family in a car accident. To escape from the trauma that continuously haunted him each day, he gave in to the temptation of drugs to ease the pain. His pursuit towards temporary solace led to addiction and has caused him hallucinations of his beloved sister Ysa (Dianne Suarez). In his daydreams, Ysa invited his brother into another round of bangsak.
The film was made by Multimedia Arts students from the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of Design and Arts, with director Tinkerbell Poblete, cinematographer Steve Santos, producer Layne Yap, and lighting and production managers Jeri Requiron and Dianne Suarez.
The team came up with the narrative as a challenge to expound on the single word “encounter”.
The mini has utilized the mechanics of the game to depict the tragic lives of who would rather lose their sense and grasp of reality to cope with their inner struggles.
“We believe that there are tons of untold stories in the world and these are just some of them,” Poblete stressed.
She added that the mental health in the country is considered taboo as Filipinos are perceived as strong and resilient. To be helped by is a sign of strength; addressing mental health is strength.
“We should break the stigma,” pointed out Poblete, who underscored that mental health, a very serious issue, should not be stereotyped and those suffering from it should not be discriminated.
“Anyone could be affected by this: the very ones we love and care about, such as our families and friends, classmates, celebrities and even strangers,” she said of the issue that matters.