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Moral is a story that depicts changing values and morals of four friends who are at the height of youth activism in the years before Martial Law. Here is a critical review of the classic Filipino film…


The cinematography of this film is very simple and uses a lot of repetitive camera techniques, which make it easier to determine and compare with other films. It employs the basic camera shots, angles, and movements to suggest similar mood and emotions expressed by characters. Such technique is a long shot; it establishes the setting and the personalities involved in the scene and its stable shot allows the audience to infer the relationships and links of the subjects in a certain shot. The framing manipulates the emotion of the characters by enhancing whatever their feeling toward a certain situation. From a medium close up to a close up shot, the camera heightens the emotions of Sylvia’s son regarding his yearning for his father and to emphasize the emotion in Joey’s face after Jerry’s revelation of his new found love. Joey’s unruly trait signified at the scene where she unhurriedly walks toward a boutique, used by a tracking shot. The gradual pacing of the camera accompanies the entire range of movement of Joey as she steals something. It therefore creates a closer affinity with the dominant subject, since the spectator is not just watching him/her moving, but moving with him/her. Whereas, a use of following shot is established for the audience to only see and observe where the dominant subject is heading. There was also a scene where a shot was behind the window grills that suggests Joey’s imprisonment of self-denial for she cannot accept that her Joey does not have the same affection towards her  and she also admittedly knew that she cannot live up to Jerry’s activist lifestyle.

Mise en scene

The director, for the mis-en-scene of the film, relied more on the close up shot to capture the aura rather than manipulating the lighting. Yet in some scenes lighting still influenced the subject, such as when a top lighting direction intended to bring out the line of Kathy’s cheekbones in order to look more like a performer onstage. Cast shadows attached on Joey while she sneaks to Jerry’s window, the viewer then suspects of the dreadful outcome from her action.

The use of key light is evident while Sylvia is crying over the fact that her ex-husband is gay was shot with only the use of key light which displays shadows on the right part of her face that convey sadness. While a hard light is always implied in bar scenes particularly Kathy wanting to sing a rock song rather than the demanded genre of her boss accompanied with a red lighting to suggest her passion and hunger for fame. And a high contrast to intensify the environment.


The use of sound in films is very important because it adds a dramatic effect to the story to build up emotion and to engage the viewer’s interest. The film implies numerous non-diegetic sounds such as of an opera singer. The characters may hear it yet not shown from where it originates throughout the whole movie. Also, the tormented and depressing feelings of Joey is expressed through songs of a shattered heart. The director obviously relayed on the songs that have evocative lyrics to accompany the mood of every scene. For an instance, the grieving song after Jerry died. During the ending scene, there was a diegetic sound of Kathy singing a lively melody accompanied by dancers.

Editing technique

The editing in Moral is quite faultless because of the style and technique used to make the narrative appealing and easy to understand. The continuity editing of the individual shots of each friend during beer sessions maintains a clear narrative action and link between everyone in the group, reinforced by eyeline match and the consistent use of shot reverse shot in dialogues. To exemplify, is when Joey threatened Dodo’s nephew. Accompanied by a low- level shot of the nephew and high-level shot of Joey signify sympathy for the character who occupies the vulnerable shot.

[Reviewer: Joselle Janolo]