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

Reviews

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Bisperas: Family Feud on the Night Before Christmas

By Mike Rapatan

Jeffrey Jeturian’s Bisperas takes a night in the life of the Aguinaldo family led by Ramon (Tirso Cruz III), a lay minister in a local parish church, and Salud (Raquel Villavicencio), his patient and obliging housewife. The film opens with the couple joining a panunuluyan procession on Christmas Eve with their children: the closet gay Mio (Edgar Allan Guzman), the impetuous and straightforward Ara (Julia Clarete), and Diane (Jennifer Sevilla), a balikbayan visiting the country with her daughter Steph (Aryanna Santiago).Read more

Bisperas: The Dichotomy of Religious Theorizing and Practice

By Gigi Javier Alfonso

Bisperas is set in the eve of Christmas, making it a national celebration, since almost eighty percent of the population of the Philippines is Catholic. Being the third largest Catholic country in the world, Filipinos are known to have the longest celebration of the Christmas season. Amidst the Asian multi-cultural setting our country is relatively distinct. Bisperas”tries to capture this complexity through a glimpse of the Filipino family in this unique setting.Read more

Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa: Erotisismo ng Salita at Imahen

Ni Roland Tolentino

Sa indie cinema, madalas ay dalawa lang ang modelo—komersyal na umaalinsunod sa template ng genre at narrative development, na may kalkuladong talas dahil indie cinema nga, at mataas na production value, tulad ng sa komersyal na pelikula; at neorealismo na isang-araw-sa-buhay na may kapasidad makapagbigay ng hayag na panlipunang komentaryo, nanggigitata sa pang-araw-araw na detalye, at open-ended na pagsasara ng naratibo.

May ipinapakilala, marahil ikatlong modelo, si Alvin Yapan sa kanyang Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa, ang literary mode. Sa isang banda, nasa lebel ng abstraksyon at metapisika ito, o may kapasidad na tumalakay sa unibersal at transhistorikal na katotohanan at tema tungkol sa buhay at pag-ibig. Sa kabilang banda, dahil nakaugat ang piniling panitikan sa kulturang Filipino, ito ay nakaangkla sa panlipunan at historikal na kondisyon ng bansa—sa pelikula, ang kontemporaryong bansa.Read more

Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa: Cinema As Pain, Politics & Poetry

By Tito Genova Valiente

The triumph of the film, Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa, comes from poetry. For lack of a better term, believe me, the optimal praise we can give Yapan’s work is that it has poetry written and sung all over it.

I struggle with that description because the modifier “poetic” has been bandied already for works that are tremulous and fragile. Employed to define the power of film, the same adjective softens and, oftentimes, trivializes a powerful work.Read more

Ang Babae sa Septic Tank: The Rise and Fall of Eugene Domingo 'Sa Septic Tank'

By Mario A. Hernando

The indie film is going mainstream. From arthouse venues at the malls, the UP Sining Adarna, and the Cultural Center of the Philippines—all of them accommodating only a microscopic share of the movie market even put together, one film invaded over 40 theaters nationwide, a situation made possible by the distribution system of very mainstream Star Cinema which has bought from independent producers Quantum Films, Martinez-Rivera Films, and Straight Shooters Media the rights to the 2011 Cinemalaya hit Ang Babae sa Septic Tank.Read more