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

Filmography

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Boses

MUSIC IS THE MESSAGE
BY BUTCH FRANCISCO

MUSIC IS A key element in “Boses,” an entry in the recent Cinemalaya competition. It is a heart-tugging drama about a teacher-pupil relationship, the story of a violinist named Ariel (played by the international award-winning violinist Coke Bolipata) who gives hope to the battered young boy Onyok (Julian Duque).

ODE TO THE VOICES OF THE YOUNG
BY GIGI JAVIER ALFONSO

“BOSES” — A FASCINATING and lyrical approach to story telling about one of the most vicious of sins and crimes—that of child abuse. “Boses” is a film that paves the way to a more subtle and inner discourse of blatant and obvious destructive occurrences in our everyday lives. Many filmmakers will always be tempted to present the issue of child abuse stripped of interpretation; commonly approached with stark realism as if it was the only way to capture what is real. It sometimes becomes more of the exploitation of the exploited that surfaces in such cases. It is likened to turning scars back into wounds that remain open. It often has been described as pornography (that subject matter is not necessarily always sex… violence can be pornography) when crassness and lack of interpretation in presentations happens. Read more

Tribu

Blood-lusty ballad of an inner city

By LITO B. ZULUETA

JIM Libiran’s “Tribu” has touches of autobiography. A sociologist, poet, and documentary filmmaker and himself Tondo-bred, Libiran seems predestined to make this ultimate anthem to the Tondo of cruel lore and terrible legend, the Tondo of both gentle dreams and passionate faith.

By BUTCH FRANCISCO

FOLLOWERS of independent films must have noticed by now how most of these movies use only two kinds of locations. The first is a far, far away locale inaccessible to many: “Ang Daan Patungung Kalimugtong,” “Haw-ang,” “Manoro,” “Huling Balyan ng Buhi,” etc. These settings allow the filmmakers to have complete control over their shoots—without worrying about outside distractions (unless there are NPAs hovering by). Read more

Tirador

City of God, City of man
By Lito B. Zulueta

BRILLANTE Mendoza expands the universe of independent filmmaking in “Tirador,” a multi-storied and multi-character movie that has the makings of an urban epic. Critics who have closely followed Mendoza’s brilliant career have always known that the director is someone who would not be circumscribed by the alleged limits of digital filmmaking. From gritty character studies that seem like mordant reinventions of the chamber drama (“Masahista,” “Manoro,” “Foster Child”), a genre that perfectly dovetails with digital filmmaking’s restrictions, Mendoza has widened his artistic breadth to embrace as well the varied, the myriad, and the jungle. With “Tirador,” he shows with dramatic flourish that his cinema could cope with the self-imposed limits of technology, even go beyond them. “Tirador” is simply right on target. Read more

Foster Child

Cherry Pie simply brilliant
By BUTCH FRANCISCO

AT last year’s Gawad Urian, one of the frontrunners for best picture was “Kaleldo” by Brillante Mendoza, also nominated for best director. And even that early, I was sure that he would again be in the running at the next Urian Awards for his new project “Foster Child”. Read more

Endo

Depicting a social problem without pontificating
By BUTCH FRANCISCO

WITH all our concerns in this world, do we even bother to pause and think about the circumstances in life of those people who wait on us in restaurants, the sales clerks who get the correct size and shade of shoes that we buy in department stores and those young food attendants who take our orders in burger joints? Yes, those people we snap at when they bungle up on the job.

Dead-end fate
By LITO B. ZULUETA

JADE Castro’s “Endo” is a totally revealing and very effective depiction of the plight of “end-of-contract” workers, who are forever consigned to contractual status by a global economy in which the profit bottom line is considered an absolute. Read more

Death In the Land of Encantos

(Kagadanan sa Banwaan ning mga Engkanto)

Sabayang Panahon, Produksyon ng Alaala at Proaktibong Cinema
Ni ROLAND TOLENTINO

HINDI ang kahabaan ng oras ang isyu sa pelikula ni Lav Diaz. Sa “Engkanto,” siyam na oras ang palabas, tulad ng naunang “Ebolusyon ng Pamilyang Pilipino” at “Heremias.” Sino ang handang maglaan ng isang araw ng kanilang gising na buhay para sa pelikula ni Diaz? Read more

Confessional

Interpreting Truths Through Conversations
By GIGI JAVIER ALFONSO

CONFESSIONAL is a film produced by Creative Programs, Inc. through Cinema One Originals and Oddfield Productions, directed by Jerrold Tarog and Ruel Antipuesto with screenplay by Ramon Ukit (aka Jerrold Tarog). Early I would like to make mention of the acting as the core of this narrative. The performers are real and believable. This is a reflection of mature direction. Truly outstanding is Publio Briones III as the former Mayor, Lito Caliso. Lead actor Jerrold Tarog gives a sincere performance, he is likewise the co-director, writer, editor, sound designer, and he does the music score. Read more

Todo Todo Teros

Examining the pain behind geopolitical romance
By Mike Rapatan

The recent World Trade Center 9/11 disaster has firmly etched in the public consciousness the horrors of international terrorism. This 21st century tragedy has stirred diverse responses from different filmmakers who have portrayed in varying scales the seismic changes that have reshaped world affairs. On one end of the spectrum, one finds filmmakers who have produced epic movies with apocalyptic doomsday scenarios of a global meltdown while on the opposite side are other filmmakers with their personal films that probe the psyche of the wounded who mourn and struggle and cope with the loss of their beloved. Read more

Rome and Juliet

No stereotyping of women who love women
By Gigi Javier Alfonso

THERE is a dearth of text in film on lesbian relationships in the Philippine setting. This is a sign of society’s tendency to erase such phenomenon in a Catholic country environment…as if this does not happen. And if it does it is considered a form of aberration and is considered to be a mortal sin. Read more

Kubrador

Betting on Luck and Light and Shadow

By Tito Genova Valiente

We have seen this figure in many films. An alpha male. But, in the film, Kubrador, the person is a woman. She is Amy, mother, Danger incarnate. Believer.

Today is no different from any other day. She begins the day with a prayer, asking for divine intercession, the votive candles approving, the saints seemingly listening. Her gaze is unflinching. The intensity is disturbing because it is all too sincere and all too frank. For Amy is praying that God, and all the saints in heaven, will save her from the enemies—the cops.

Life is a gamble

By Butch Francisco

We already have a best picture for 2006. And the winner is—drum roll—Kubrador.

Now, if something superior comes along later in the year, then all the better for the local film industry.* But Kubrador, directed by Jeffrey Jeturian, is a tough act to beat. Read more