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

Reviews

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Huling Balyan ng Buhi: Pagkatangi ng Huling Balyan at ilang isyu mula rito

Ni Rolando B. Tolentino

Mahirap maintindihan ang “Huling Balyan ng Buhi” (Woven Stories of the Other). Apat ang espasyong di direktang nagtatagpo pero pinaghabi ng lokalisadong tunggalian ng hukbong bayan at militar: ang balyan o manggagamot na ang sariling sugat sa mga kamay (parang stigmata) ay hindi niya magamot; ang grupo ng New People’s Army (NPA) na sa pagitan ng paglilipat ng maysakit na kasama ay unti-unting nangapigtas; ang isang sundalo na napalapit, kung posible man ito, sa baylan; at ang magkapatid na tila diwatang naglalaro sa kagubatan, hinahanap ang ina. Ang lahat ng ito ay nakalunan sa katutubong komunidad ng Matisalog at sa Barangay Naplico sa Arakan Valley, North Cotabato.

Ayon sa synopsis ng pelikula para sa 9th Osians Cinefan Festival Sections:Read more

'Ebolusyon' may trigger a revolution

By Lito B. Zulueta

"Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino" was Gawad Urian Best Picture for 2004.

IN “EBOLUSYON ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino,” Raynaldo (Elryan De Vera) is rescued as an infant from abandonment by a mentally unhinged woman, Hilda (Marife Necisito). She takes him back to her family in the countryside, where he grows up to witness and suffer the lot of Filipino farmers: enslavement to the land, getting caught in the crossfire of political conflicts, and severe displacement. He flees and joins a mining family in the high lands. In his new world, he discovers that same plaintive reality of loss, suffering and dislodgement.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.

Libiran presents Tondo’s seemingly innate violence in the context of inner-city gangs that raise their industrial pipes and flick their switchblades and go on a tribal-war rampage as easily as they rap or wax poetic about their city, their personal aspirations and frustrations, like the minstrels of more bucolic, less violent times.

Libiran thoroughly knows his geography. His Tondo reeks of the true effluent of human sewage, pulsing with the din and blare of its noise and confusion, to the howl of animals led to their slaughter in Vitas. But amid the racket are also humanity and tenderness, as shown by the warm interaction during family dinners of the gang members.Read more

Tirador: City of God, city of man

By Lito B. Zulueta

"Tirador" is the Gawad Urian Best Picture for 2007.

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”.

Written by Ralston Jover, “Foster Child” unveils the existence of families (I never knew was there all along) that care for abandoned babies waiting to be given to their prospective foster parents.

In “Foster Child”, Cherry Pie Picache (as Thelma Manlangqui) cares for three-year old John-John (Kier Segundo), who was put in her custody and care when the boy was an infant, a sickly newborn so small he could fit in a shoebox. Helping her care for the kid are her laborer husband, Dan Alvaro and biological kids Alwyn Uytingco and Jiro Manio. A social worker, played by Eugene Domingo, visits their home regularly to check John-John’s progress.Read more