In “Ang Daan Patungong Kalimugtong,” two Benguet orphans living with their invalid grandfather and jobless brothers traverse the mountain fastness in order to get to school everyday. They brave rough terrain, deep forests, roaring rivers, and a precarious hanging bridge to be able to make it to school and learn the day’s lessons. The rigors of travel do not break the kids, who have stout hearts and even stouter spirits. But they break the viewer’s heart, who can only watch disbelievingly at heroism that comes from so lightweight a carriage and so tender an age.
Directed by Mes de Guzman, “Kalimugtong” is poignant and moving. Here is a social document of poverty without the silly idealization or the agitprop condemnation. It presents poverty and hardship merely as a given, something that melds with stunning nature, which, incidentally, carries within itself harshness and cruelty.Read more
We always are happy to take note of films that are grounded on Philippine experience. Blue Moon, produced by Lily Monteverde for Metro Manila Film Festival and directed by Joel Lamangan, is one of the films that can be noted as part of the attempts of film artists to come up with a technically well made work and at the same time concern themselves with content that gives insight to how people try to solve their problems as they go through life in a complex society. It shows Filipinos specific and particular experiences, as it comments on social realities like war, separation and alienation. It talks of human weaknesses that bring out hesitation and even betrayal. But likewise, it celebrates love and life.Read more
Danny (Winston Elizalde) and Jonas (Nor Domingo) are lowlife buddies who tire of the small change they get from their petty crimes. They dream of winning the jackpot by planning and staging a kidnap and demanding huge ransom money. They abduct Melody (Joanne Miller), a self-absorbed fan of Philippine movie actresses, and accidentally meet in Melody’s house Wilson (Jamie Wilson), Melody’s boyfriend and the gruff and temperamental son of Don Manolo (Michael de Mesa), a ganglord involved with payoffs to different politicians. Disgusted by his father’s refusal to hatch his own criminal operations, Wilson turns around Danny and Jonas’s kidnapping into a “joint venture” and conspires with them to have himself abducted as a way of siphoning his father’s funds. Read more
The past days of Cinemanila film festival have highlighted the local digital films created by mostly independent film artists. Here are different story-telling forms that our audiences may find unfriendly and not easily palatable in the standards of commercial filmmaking. I find this healthy…at least we, as the audience, can have choices beyond the mainstream formulas.
Unfortunately the local films that joined the festival have very minimal promotions and therefore not many people know that they are being shown.
This again is not surprising. The producers joined not for profit and therefore are wary about pumping in more capital that will dictate concerns about the return of investment. In our system, promotions spell expenses that amount to more than the production budgets of these works. All in all, parties concerned are comfortable with the idea in helping out our young independent film artists. However our exhibitors or our theater owners may have some reservations. But, we think that the experiment is a prototype that may be easily improved in the future.Read more
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
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
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
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
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
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