The society of respected film critics that hands out the annual Gawad Urian in cinematic excellence

Bwaya (2014)

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The Artifice of Meta-cinema

By Mike Rapatan

Francis Xavier Pasion’s Bwaya is shot in the deceptively quiet marshlands of Agusan where, according to published news, twelve-year-old Rowena Romano while rowing in her banca with her cousin was suddenly attacked and killed by a crocodile which some suspect to be Lolong, the world’s largest saltwater crocodile as proclaimed by the Guinness Book of World Records. Pasion expands on this grisly tabloid-sounding report and strives to elevate it to some significance so that in the end we are moved and not merely shocked at Rowena’s unusual disappearance.Read complete review

Calm Amid Greed, Menace

By Mario A. Hernando

Here is a true-to-life panorama of a marshland: serene, beautiful, and green. Placid water everywhere. Small nipa and wooden structures and brown soil dot the waters with thickets of lilies all around. The Manobo folk in their quotidian life: A crowd recites “The Lord’s Prayer” while a body is exhumed from the grave, kids frolic in the waters, two girls play doctor and patient, a teacher at the floating “literacy school” reminding the class of their graduation fee, the same teacher leading a class party for 12-year-old pupil Rowena and serving instant ramen, a mother at Rowena’s second party serving more ramen to the young guests.

Then later, a shocking incident happens. Rowing a canoe with another girl and singing a song that goes, “Can you really be independent?”, Rowena is attacked by a crocodile. The panorama is forever changed.Read complete review