:: Cinemalaya2012 Days 1-2 ::

As said last Saturday, I am on a Cinemalaya holiday this week and I’ll try to digress and do a few scattered reviews, mostly scrambled thoughts, of any films I’ve experienced in the fest.

Please don’t judge me on anything since these are just personal views and experiences. As a fellow cinephile once said, reviews should always be subjective. Being objective is a total bull.

Also, spoilers in the entries are like those flying ipis that you can’t catch and kill. So, if you hate spoilers, stay away.

DAY 1.

MGA MUMUNTING LIHIM (JOSE JAVIER REYES)

This is probably the film that should be catered to the public from time to time. Enough with the Star Cinema rom-coms. Enough with the sweet soul sister Metro Manila Film Festival. I am tired with the sweetness of everything, and I had too much of it. In fact, I have the so-called mainstream cinema diabetes. And that, my friends, is something to be frowned on.

The film is fairly simple. It starts off with the necrological service of a friend who died of cancer, and we are introduced to her three friends who are just there, paying respects and all that shit. Then, it starts to get interesting when the only will of the departed was to give a boxful of decades worth of diaries to her best friend (who is also part of the group). Curiosity kicks in and she reads stuff. Stuff that changed the relationship of the barkada.

I have a certain admiration to Reyes. Yes, I know, he’s stuck and shackled with the system but he would often give out those interesting films with interesting dialogue and script. I was actually surprised with his inclusion in the festival. And people actually responded on what the flying fuck is he doing in such; it was evidently shown in the screening in Greenbelt 3, there were still a lot of empty seats when I was buying a ticket while Sta. Nina, who had the same time, had two empty seats left in its screening.

But I did get it. Imagine a film with Iza Calzado, Janice De Belen, and Agot Isidro, cursing their hearts out in a confrontation scene. A film full of deceit and backbiting within friends. A film that features the whole barkada laughing with glee due to the effects of Marijuana brownies. And it was fairly experimental for Reyes too; with all the indie type of camera shots, he was trying to look raw but it was obviously evident that he’s a pro. There was once scene where he tried go around a post to maintain the continuity of the scene. What the fuck, direk? What the fuck.

I guess in order to completely distance himself from mainstream is to remove completely the product placements in the film. That was really a sore for my fucking eyes. I want to see more mainstream actors and actresses doing the dirty stuff in indie cinema BUT keep it on a minimum. If they could do an ugly film such as No Other Woman, I believe that we could push these type of material to mainstream too. This is a good precedent if they want to lend the mainstream actors in the indie industry. Please surprise us. Surprise is good.

ANG KATIWALA (ALOY ADLAWAN)

What the hell was the director thinking when he showed the material and script to the screening committee? I was surprised when this film was included in the line-up.

I get it. He was trying to tell the greatness of Manuel L. Quezon in such a way that it can easily be used in the everyday life of the ordinary citizen. He was trying to go meta (i hope i am getting the term right). But the thing is if there is no movie magic material, there is no point in creating one.

Dennis Trillo. Probinsyano. Caretaker. Security guard friend. Sociopolitical bullshit. Yeah, that’s the summary of the film.

It would have been more practical and ingenious if they used a kid in the film. And it would have been better if the trailer was not conceived as scary. As they were trying to keep up that artsy and urbanesque slow and shallow mood, it didn’t pave way for something that would make as comprehensive as what it should have been. Or so to speak.

The film was fucking long too. If you’re trying to make a point and if you’re trying to tell an awesome essay, then the movie didn’t make it. Yes, we are aware of the dangers of urban poor and we know the same old NPA I kikil your family and stuff. And it didn’t work. Yes, they are the problems of the society but it was just all over the place. You’re not really telling a story, it was a fictionalized semi-documentary of all sorts. It was bland. It was tiring.

The movie has its moments too. But the number is so small that the film would swallow the so-called greatness of President Manuel L. Quezon and his story. Thank god no one walked out of the theater when it hit the one hour mark. People thought they were watching art, and I was busy looking for it.

DAY 2.

SHORTS B.
ANG PAGHIHINTAY SA BULONG (SIGRID ANDREA BERNARDO)

It was fun at first. It was fun to see a naked grandmother bathed by her grand-daughter. But that’s it. There is a thing called subtlety in comedy. You know, you wait for the right time to pull out the punchline. This one was like The Pacman beating the viewer, one punch from another even if it was just not working anymore.

And it affected the supposed climax of the short. If you start with something high, you should end it with something high. It didn’t reach it. It was not a downer but it was just not there. I was not even asking or looking for more.

MANENAYA (RICHARD LEGAZPI)

It greatly reminded me of the kalbaryo scene in that film, last year, with Mercedes Cabral; the one where she showed her boobs in the cleansing scene. Took awhile for me to understand what the film was trying to portray. It was an almost tear-jerker but the build-up was not enough, or it was probably just not effective, to make me swoon on the sad side.

I love its Kampanpangan flavor. Hopefully, in the future, they would feature a different view of the province. One that uplifts the spirit like what our friends from Bacolod did with Namets!

RUWEDA (HANNAH ESPIA)

Finally, something hip in the batch of shorts (for shorts B that is). I guess it was somewhat tricky to pull off something with a small set of material as opposed to the so-called linear story.

It was effective. It was beautifully ugly. And the director should have added two more elements in the film to make it an experience. I wished she maximized the setting as it was not as complex as it looks.

And what the hell was the guy in spectacles thinking? Seriously? Not a place to do that.

SARONG ALDAW (MARIANITO DIO JR.)

A poem for optimism. A poem diligent enough to say what you want in a bandwagon and the social norms. A poem full of hope.

It also says a lot on what we have in our society today. We are hardworking but we have to play with our strengths. Coincidentally, the short played by its strength. It was lovely to see the simple lifestyle of the province versus the roaring mind of the youth.

A lot of the shorts in the festival are going to be artsy and there is a small percentage of it that I would finally get the message. Luckily, I did get this one. Good job for moi.

ULIAN (CHUCK GUTIERREZ)

This short says a very distinct message from our friends in the province. An ordinary lifestyle wouldn’t hurt a very dangerous type of ‘disease’. I did say that it is dangerous because losing a loved one because of senility is something to be scared of.

I was probably expecting more in this short. It had that heartwarming feel but it went detective in an oh so artsy way that in the end, you know it would just go full circle. I want to say more, but just like what the short wanted to portray, that was it.

THE ANIMALS (GINO SANTOS)

I hated his short last year. It was too icky. Maybe, I didn’t want to see such type of story since I don’t want to accept that the next generation would be such a bunch of useless twats much like what we see in the western world, specifically USA, of today. But watching this made me realize that such type of film is a good eye-opener even if most of it are just fiction. It is a love-letter to the parents. No wait, it is a chain-letter to the parents much like a Howler in the Harry Potter books.

Three students, two of which are siblings, and the other, the love interest. All of them are rich living in a material world. One enjoys the highs of synthetic drugs while trying to fit in by joining a fraternity. The other is a jock-type of student full of air worthy of no one. And a very naive, scholar slash kleptomaniac common amongst the youth of today; take the klepto away of course.

Santos probably saw enough coming-of-age films that he was able to mix and match a lot of those into one film that all of us Filipinos would understand. Illegal drugs, underage drinking, getting wasted, roofing a friend, senseless violence, duping people, and all the bad traits that you would usually see in an ordinary mainstream film such as Animal House, Project X, and Superbad, are here. They are all here, carefully fit to a night’s consumption of modern-day child stupidity.

But I applaud the brevity of the director in creating such. Because one way or another, you could’ve experienced a few of the scenes in the film. You know, those times that when you get home from a party, you would only say “ok naman” without telling your parents that a lot of awesome and embarrassing things happened because you know that a next time is not possible if you told the truth.

I guess my only complain in this film is that I could have experienced those shit in college and not in a high school setting. I may be wrong though; I have a second-hand story, that way back in college, incoming freshmen were taking E during a freshman orientation. Oh, and the use of rave lights in the film. Yes, we know that you’re trying to make the scene as natural as possible but let’s not wait for anyone in the audience to experience epilepsy, kay?

I guess this is the perfect antithesis to Jerrold Tarog’s Senior Year. The music is superb too. And if people would think that the climax of the scholar is farfetched, I would surely beg to disagree. It might’ve happened already and powerful people has the ability to silence media. A definite watch for the youth of the A, B, and C crowd. This film is for you too.

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~ by targrod on July 23, 2012.

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