Continuing to focus on the margins of Filipino society, prolific indie helmer Adolfo Borinaga Alix Jr. satirizes the rewards and burdens of faith to puzzling effect in absurdist drama “Fable of the Fish.” Played naturalistically with some comic moments, the pic centers on a deeply religious slum dweller who gives birth to a fish and finds her luck changing at the same time her once-happy marriage goes south. Although this head-scratcher feels like it’s missing a final punchline, further fest exposure is guaranteed.
Soon after devoted, middle-aged marrieds Lina (Cherry Pie Picache) and Miguel (Bembol Roco) move into the giant landfill of Catmon, Malabon City, Lina becomes pregnant. Although they both say they will be grateful for whatever God gives them, Miguel ultimately refuses to express paternal feelings for the fish, even as Lina risks becoming a laughingstock by having it baptized and appearing on national television. Picache and the other female thesps play it admirably straight, cooing at the fish as if were a human newborn. Meanwhile, precisely framed, color-desaturated lensing captures the hellish landscape of the garbage dump as it swarms with activity.