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

Reviews

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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.

“Rome and Juliet” is a film under the banner of Cinema One Originals, a production entity headed by Ronald Arguelles, that has opened up the venue for new filmmakers through its program of meticulously scrutinizing scripts and inviting directors who have new ways of telling their stories.Read more

Kubrador: 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.

Early in the film, its impressive qualities are already apparent, without calling attention to itself. Kubrador’s opening sequence uses what is called in local movie parlance as “tuhog,” meaning the camera records the action in one long, uninterrupted take. Action flows continuously and the director doesn’t shout, “Cut!” (Incidentally, “Tuhog” happens to be the title of Jeturian’s best film before Kubrador.)

The entire sequence is a marvel considering that it is difficult for a camera to negotiate the labyrinthine alleyways in one of the city’s thickly-populated slums. A directorial feat for its complexity and keen observations, with the orchestration of the movements of the extras and crowds that have no acting experience, right before the camera that seems to wade in the neighborhood.Read more

Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo: Marrying a family

By Butch Francisco

Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo is clearly the 2006 Metro Manila Film Festival winner in both box-office and creative terms. It has all the elements to make it a First Best Picture of the festival plus the Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas Cultural Award as it espouses family values and it is very Filipino in heart and soul. It is well-edited, the music in the soundtrack is contemporary and meaningful, camerawork is unobtrusive.

The story shows the adage that in Filipino society, one does not marry a beloved partner. One marries a family.

A broad range of moviegoers should find it highly entertaining and see themselves and their relatives in the myriad of wedding personalities, thanks to a very good material and realistic dialogues, nothing too dramatic, nothing phony.Read more

Kaleldo: Summer heat

By Butch Francisco

Brillante Mendoza is a director to watch. Cineastes first got a glimmer of his importance as a new directorial talent in Masahista, which won a prize at the Locarno Film Festival. Masahista is a film about the lives of masseurs who double as male prostitutes, set in Manila and Pampanga (the director’s hometown) and with some dialogues in Kapapampangan. His second full-length feature, Kaleldo, is set entirely in Pampanga with more Pampango dialogues (and a corresponding set of English subtitles for the rest of us non-Pampangos).

Kaleldo is a Pampango word that means “summer.” The story however isn’t limited to this hot season but stretches a couple of years and covers both wet and dry seasons. It gives a glimpse of the colorful if quaint Holy Week rituals in Pampanga that should be a hit among foreigners in international film festivals.Read more