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

Reviews

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Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon: Sa Pagitan ng Dalawang Paltok ng Pangungulila at Pag-unawa

Ni Benilda S. Santos

Naroon ang pelikula. Gumigiling samantalang isinisiwalat ang isang naratibo at ang nagsisiganap dito. Iniuuwi sa dadalawang kulay ang buhay—itim at puti, liwanag at dilim—upang maihayag ang pagiging talinghaga ng bawat larawang nakakuwadro dito; ibig sabihin, kung paano laging kumakawala ang kahulugan sa kahulugan upang mapagdugtong ang nakaraan-kasalukuyan-hinaharap sa pamamagitan ng mga larawang gumagalaw. At sa wakas, mahihinagap na ang kuwento o kasaysayan o naratibo ay sumusunod sa hubog ng pagnanais na mapaglabanan ang pangungulilang dala ng kabiguang ganap na maunawaan ang kambal na puwersa ng kalikasan at kasaysayan.Read more

Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon: Dramatikong Pagpaparamdam

Ni Rolando B. Tolentino

Karamihan, kundi man, kalakhan ng slow films ni Lav Diaz ay hindi lamang may pasintabi, kundi nananatiling bukal at impetus ng mga dramatikong kondisyon, ang diktaduryang Marcos. Kahit wala ang pisikal na presensya ng mga Marcos, ito ang psychical na predikamento ng pagkasadlak sa kondisyon ng posibilidad ng panahon at tagpo ng pelikula.

Marcosian trauma na may pambansang lalim ito dahil sa malawakang pagkalabag sa mga karapatang pantao, pangungurakot, pandudusta, at pagkamangmang sa isang banda, at sa kabilang banda, ang pagbabalik ng mga Marcoses sa iba’t ibang lokal, pambansa at kultural na posisyon, na parang “wala lang.” Hindi tulad sa ibang bansa na nanggaling sa isang traumatikong diktadurya, ang first order of the day sa pagtatapos ng diktadurya ay pagbuo ng isang komisyon para imbestigahan ang kaso ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao at pangungurakot, ang Filipinas ay walang ganoon. Kaya ganito.Read more

Dagitab: Panandaliang Liwanag sa Kakaibang Pelikula

Ni Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera

Narito ang isang kakaibang sineng Pinoy. Kakaiba dahil bahagi ng istratehiya ng naratibo ang sinadyang pag-iwas sa paglilinaw tungkol sa relasyon at tunguhin ng mga pangunahing tauhan. Hindi tayo sanay sa ganitong pelikulang Filipino. Nakagawian na ng karaniwang pelikulang Filipino na alagaang nasusundan, sa pamamagitan ng dialogo at eksena, ng mga manonood ang nagaganap sa kalooban ng mga tauhan. Sa Dagitab, pinag-iisip ng iskriprayter ang mga manonood habang tumatakbo ang naratibo. Tatlong tauhan ang nasa sentro ng kuwento–-mag-asawang propesor at propesora, sina Jimmy (Nonie Buencamino) at Issey (Eula Valdez) sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas at isang estudyanteng bagong pasok sa unibersidad, si Gab (Martin del Rosario), isang teenager, inaanak ni Issey.Read more

Dagitab: Sparks and Sparkles

By Gigi Javier Alfonso

Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival brings to the fore Dagitab directed by Giancarlo Abrahan who belongs to a new breed of young filmmakers. Dagitab is a standout. Abrahan, who also wrote the screenplay, shines and shows his mettle as an ace director. He just shouts it out that this film may not be for everybody. But then again... it maybe for everyone. It is for all those who will allow themselves to walk with him as he dares tread where directors fear to go. The poetic, the lyrical, the theorizing... the long takes to allow moments of visual pleasure together with the reading of silence. Setting of the breathing space, time for reflection to attain the rhythm of knowing in contemporary times. The film has texture.Read more

Bwaya: 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 more

Bwaya: 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 more

Mga Kuwentong Barbero: Incredible, But These Barber's Tales are True

BY Tito Genova Valiente

The story begins with a village locked deep in a valley. Several deaths after and the village is spruced up for the visit of a dictator. In that place, its lone barber died in his sleep. Despondent, his wife takes over and becomes the prominent barber in town. Somewhere, a woman is lovely and depressed. Somewhere, a wife is battered and made pregnant by her cruel husband.

Tales abound in Jun Lana’s Barber’s Tales. You can tell the tales and retell them, put them in any position and yet the world these tales sprung from still makes sense. These stories derive their validity not through histories but through a composition that shades the border between fantasy and political commentary.

In the film, Barber’s Tales, the small tales are true but somewhere in these tales are other tales, unyielding to our common notion of what is factual and what is fictive.

In the town, the location of which always comes with the reminder of its isolation, the barber shop is where all people converge. Jose is the barber but he is no raconteur. The tales will come from other people and the event these people find themselves part of.Read more

Mga Kuwentong Barbero: Not a Barber's Tale

By Nicanor G. Tiongson

Decades after it was ended by the People Power revolt, the Marcos dictatorship has become the subject of choice of many independent films since 2005. Some of these have exposed military abuses on women as in Ka Oryang, the psychological traumas of former activists as in Mga Anino ng Kahapon, the militarization of an erstwhile peaceful village in Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon, the failure of the ideologies and dreams of a couple of UP professors in Dagitab, and now the politicization of a barrio woman in Mga Kuwentong Barbero or Barber’s Tales.Read more

Away From the Title: The Natural Phenomenon of Madness

By Tito Genova Valiente

A woman meets up with her rapist. They spend a great deal of time talking about something else, some other persons other than themselves. They never talk about the rape and they really never dwell about them being together, or even apart.

The man and the woman have no biographies. The story is not clear about their genealogies, nor are their psychologies revealed to us, or at least hinted. Thus, with the absence of any past that may ingratiate the two to us, in forms of sympathies and empathies, we expect the audience to be voyeurs, eyes stuck close to peeping holes and silent and silenced as they view the events transpire and pass by. With no future in the horizon for these two beings, they thrill us for the open spaces of relationships that the film opens with a lovemaking scene, without the love, and without the woman seemingly enjoying it. We assume the man enjoyed the act on the premise that for men, the acknowledged initiator of any kind of coupling, any sex act is always delicious. Read more

The Natural Phenomenon of Madness: Ngayon At Bukas Ng Sineng Filipino

Ni Bienvenido Lumbera

The Natural Phenomenon of Madness ang kakatwang pamagat ng pelikulang nakasentro sa naganap sa pagkatao ng isang babae at ng lalaking sangkot sa kaso ng panggagahasa. Ito ba ay ulat tungkol sa nabanggit na kaso? Para kasing medical report. Baka naman pagpapaliwanag ng isang psychiatrist batay sa kanyang naobserbahan sa kilos at pagsasalaysay ng babaeng biktima. O kaya ay ulat ng isang sosyolojis na naging kapalagayang-loob ng rapist.

Pero ang pamagat ay pamagat ng isang sine. Kung produkto ito ng industriyang sa mahabang panahon ay nagsilbing tagapagbili ng aliw, paano kaya nito maaakit ang madlang noo’y dumumog sa talkilya nang paglawayin ang mga ito ng Diligin ng Hamog ang Uhaw na Lupa na tinampukan ng eksenang sinipsip ni Joseph Estrada ang hita ni Gloria Diaz na kinagat ng ahas, at pinangakuan ng maiinit na tagpo ng pagtatalik nina Charito Solis at Ricky Belmonte sa Hugasan Mo ang Aking Kasalanan?Read more

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