:: Cinemalaya2012 Days 5-6 ::

In which, I decided to rest my eyes and my pocket. I’m not yet sure if I’m willing to watch films tomorrow; I could still catch Bwakaw and Diablo, and the rest would probably be UPFI screenings or never at all.

Oh by the way, just to add; the Cinemalaya sequels for Bwakaw and Diablo are Bwakaw and Chicken and Diablo Job respectively. Moving on…

– – – – – – – – – – –

Day 5 was kind of hardcore for moi since I had to travel from Trinoma (I had to buy tickets for Ang Nawawala) to Greenbelt 3. I almost didn’t make it to the showing of the first short but it looks like I only missed two minutes of it, thank God. Because pare, Sue Prado’s pretty. Truth.

DAY 5.

SHORTS A.
AS HE SLEEPS (SHERON DAYOC)

Definitely absorbed the feel of the gloomy and depressing tale of the couple. I’m not exactly sure on how would I react with the start of the short since I missed, as mentioned, parts of it. But it was definitely terrific in a sad way. The harsh reality of a woman tied down with the sanctity of marriage was what made this short film complete.

And having sex with a bedridden husband made the short film completer; if ever there is such a word. Again, it was beautifully constructed and executed. It feels like it was taken from someone else’s life story.

BALINTUNA (EMMANUEL ESCALONA JR)

When I saw the trailer for this short, I immediately remembered last year’s Nono by Milo Tolentino. I told myself not to expect because expectations to a film would lead you to the fiery deaths of hell or you’d lose the film’s message. I think the only part that I liked in this film is the parallelism of the two kids while running away from the older ones. It was as if you’re watching a music video; the score used was fantastic, at least in my book.

But everything was weak: the acting, the message, the script, and how it was told. In the end, it was as if I was just watching a television commercial. Sometimes the simplicity of a short film would actually kill everything. Even the part where the two young ones split up, it didn’t make any sense. And there was no redeeming factor or anything. It felt like someone was just telling me a story and the ending would be so anti-climactic that you’d want to hurt the storyteller for giving you an almost promising start.

BOHE: SONS OF THE WAVES (NADJOUA BANSIL)

I want to say that this short should be thrown out of the gutter. Hear me first, before you say bad things about me.

If you’re going to take all the juicy parts in this short, you’d actually make a 40-minute worth of material. All the scenes shown had premise. Imagine, you’d start it off at Vito Cruz, with these kids trying to survive by dancing while asking alms inside those orange mini-jeepneys. Then, you’d see their small village with trash lying all around and at the same time you’d see them growing mangroves in a dead beach. Oh, the irony.

But what the filmmaker did was too amateurish. It didn’t relay anything to the viewer. It is as if the raw shots were enough to tell a story. No, it didn’t work out that way. Everything was just scattered all around. The idea was probably there and the director had the desire to show what happened to our kababayans. It would be better if there was a voice-over, making it a short documentary of sorts. And the part where the old man was duped by the seedling-sellers, the director should’ve removed that instead.

PASAHERO (MAX CELADA)

The simplicity of this short was truly endearing. Quirky, intriguing, and a breather. I could’ve experienced this in the past though not as exaggerated as what was shown in this short; like duh, movie magic yo.

Sometimes you don’t need an extravagant form of dialogue to make a short film work, you just need an annoying old woman to run the whole show. It doesn’t matter if at times you might cringe at what our protagonist is saying. In fact, as the short film goes deeper, you’d actually empathize on what the old woman is saying.

This short feels so real. As if the scriptwriter got this one while he or she was riding a jeepney. It might even be a kin. I remember Noel Vera’s write-up on Mario O’ Hara’s passing. That O’ Hara walks a lot to gather ideas for his films. I really do hope to see more of this in the future. It really helps if, at times, you could make the viewer relate to your material.

VICTOR (JARELL SERENCIO)

I wanted to shout “Hell Yeah!” inside the movie theater when I saw the shock value of the short. I really enjoyed the gasps of the audience, the moment they hammered the nail to the wood. It was actually music to my ears.

This was my last short for Cinemalaya 2012 and I would say that I saved the best for last.

I was truly entertained by this short, not just for its shock treatment but for the sheer exploitation that we Filipinos have done in a supposed religious event. I really want to believe that those scenes outside of the crucifixion were pure fiction. I really don’t want to accept that such type of people exists. But if everything is all true, then wow, this short had affected me through and through.

And if the governor of Pampanga is reading this right now, shame on you ma’am / sir, for allowing such practices in our culture.

Deaf ears yo. Heh.

REQUIEME! (LOY ARCENAS)

The subject of death is not our specialty. As humans, we crave not to talk about it since we are either scared or it has a lot of morbidity. Plus the cinematic value falls short, most of the time. That’s why we are usually Hollywood-ized in terms of death, given the limitless ideas that produce vampires, zombies, and ghosts. Death + supernatural shit = viable cinematic experience.

A few years ago, Deds Na Si Lolo was introduced. This time it was, death + funnies = possible and workable cinematic hit. We still value the sacredness of death but seriously, if death was accepted by its friends and family, you’d definitely hear laughter everyday during the wake. Because we Filipinos can laugh at everything.

Requieme! conveys the storyline of two. The son, an outcast from his family because he’s gay, experiences the death of a neighbor slash friend. He has to go through the hurdles of taking the cadaver out of the morgue, asking for a death certificate, and all that shit that a person experience in since he is not related to the departed. And the other, the mom, who is also a Barangay Captain, stages a wake for the nephew who committed suicide in the U.S. because he killed a famous fashion designer. In which, she has to go through the long process of looking for the mother and at the same time, having arguments with two other individuals who are also claiming the body of that same person. Just because this Barangay Captain wants fame by making her nephew a hero; just because she can do whatever she wants using her position in the government.

This is not a depressing film. This is not a sad film. In fact, the deaths, in this film, are just sub-plots for the story. And I think that was what made this film work. They focused on the drive of the mother and at the same time, the kindness of the gay son. Everything was told in an almost parallel situation and I think that was the point of the whole movie. You’d never realize it until you eventually feel that the mother and son are just doing the same thing.

The storyline of the gay son was more realistic against the mom’s drive to get the dead nephew. I think there is an absolute sympathy if there’s red tape for someone who has just died. And that’s why I would say that I didn’t like / get this film so much is due to the ludicrous proposal of the mother. Whatever you say, there should still be respect for the dead. I tried taking out that notion but it just lingered and until the end, even if the set-up was really beautiful, it didn’t make it in my vocabulary.

But of course, there was a lot of funny instances in the film. The OFW’s sad state of country-hopping was downright hilarious. The supporting cast was definitely marvelous, shout-out to Lilia Cuntapay’s reverberating cuss words during her monologue. And it was a sore for my eyes to even see the parallel sex lives of the mother and the gay son. That was the climax for me, pun much intended.

OROS (PAUL STA. ANA)

Illegal gambling in Manila is a definite juicy topic especially if you’re going to tell the story of the ins and outs of such. I’ve always wondered what a sakla is, or what it looks like, or how it is played. I think I saw a saklaan in one of the streets in Pasay. People were really bustling it out. I want to take a peak; but my spider-sense told me not to. It might be trouble and I am in a different territory.

I really don’t know what Oros means; I think it is a term used in Sakla, I still don’t care though. And mainly, this film just informs the people on how Sakla is done. From its logistics until the actual show. We would see on how they would use the unclaimed bodies as much as they want for personal gain. And that’s it. Save for the protagonist’s point of view of the whole shebang plus his relationships with his family and friends.

You know, ever since I indulged myself with the magic of the local indie film industry, I had this notion that everything else is poverty porn (hello Brillante Mendoza). I actually am getting tired of this type of shit. ESPECIALLY if you would just hand me a very simple story of illegal gambling. The aspect itself is lacking in all senses.

I really don’t know if it was just me but I found myself dumb down while watching this film. Number 1. The mere portrayal of a poor community would simply show the dirtiest of the dirtiest in the lot. No, I didn’t see it in the film. It could’ve been there but movie magic ruined it. Ergo, realistically it fell flat on the floor. Number 2. The number of participants, while playing sakla, was not the number I was expecting; I know this is kind of mababaw but seriously, if you’re making this type of film, make it realistic. It would definitely make my heart flutter. And number 3. The insulting zoomed shots of poverty porn in the film. Zoomed shots of poor food. Zoomed shots of tae. Why, kuya, why?

Seriously, the film had premise. I even liked the trailer. It had something for the audience. If they could’ve interwoven it with elements for the other characters, it could’ve worked. It really felt that everything was played safe.

And I apologize for being harsh, I saw Tribu prior to this kasi.

DAY 6.

ANG NAWAWALA (MARIE JAMORA)

You can always say that an indie film festival should include the craziest, bizarrest, bravest, oddest, and hardest-hitting issues that man can ever make (or think of). But there are instances where you could make a feel good movie without the fucking same old formula that Star Cinema has used ever since LA Lopez hit puberty. Whether you like it or not, the use of a manic pixie dream girl would make someone like me adore your film (yes, you may blame zooey deschanel for this). It might be a bit off if I am trying to stay away from the real issues of the film; I think I am just playing my strengths here but I won’t forget the juicy parts, don’t worry.

I have to admit, the premise of our protagonist not talking to anyone is downright silly. And that is actually the definition of the whole film if you’re going to analyze what it is all about. Much like that the family doesn’t talk much despite the tragedy, so at least, they could start the healing. Much like what the freaking girl did to our protagonist, because despite her coolness, she’s a wuss too. Much like what I want to feel in this film, I take out the bad parts and only remember the beautiful ones. Much like in reality, where we have to take the garbage out of our system and keep the wonderful memories because that’s all that matters for us.

Our protagonist stopped talking because of a freak accident when he was just ten years old. His twin brother died while they were playing. The mother was greatly affected with this since she was the supposed guardian during this time. Eventually, the whole family was affected. The protagonist got back in the Philippines after a long stay abroad to “fix” his “psychological problem”. His best friend asked to accompany him in a gig; our bida met the girl. He found love.

I think the defining moments, of the film, weren’t just the cold drama, but you can really feel it, of the family. It was actually the outside world, the hipster world introduced by Jamora. It was as simple as that, whenever he goes home, it feels that it was problems / depression all around because the mom’s personality, had great emotional impact to the family, and I am saying that in sad way. So, every time he goes out, everything was just upbeat and happy. It was probably the brighter side of the film. All the memorable scenes were made including the air drums of the group while an Eheads song was playing, the kilig scene at the record store, the more kilig scene at the car where they were listening to the suggested music, and of course, the various gigs in the metro having the one at The Collective, the climax of the happiness of our protagonist.

And I guess everything went sour when it all happened (no spoilers, sorry. watch it, watch it, watch it). Because going out of the house would lead him to sadness (I suppose) and the same thing with the aura of the house. Giving us the effective climax with him and the mother. I guess it has something to do with inner happiness and peace. (yes, cryptic, i know. sorry)

I love the script in a sense a lot of it can be easily related to the audience. Even if the jokes were so old, it worked. Plus the supporting cast were all memorable too even if they were somewhat disposable in the film. I think the director really wanted to focus more on the protagonist and on how he would expel the demons inside him. In fact, it always amuses me when he talks to his dead twin brother. And every time he talks to him, he’s taking drugs (I might be wrong, but that’s all I could remember).

I think my only complain in this film is the set design and clothing used all throughout. I’m not saying it’s wrong. Okay, fine hipster points for that. And 200 hipster points for the Kakakaba-kaba and Itim posters in the house.

A feel good movie for the generation of today. I’m echoing sir Dodo Dayao’s take on this film; that Jamora has the ability to tell a wonderful story, even if you take out the hipsteriffic elements in the film. But for now, seeing Mikey Amistoso, Ebe Dancel, Elmer graphic novel, and a vinyl player along with the character’s different style of soul-searching, was what made the film memorable and absolutely adorable.

And again, sapul pa din sa puso ang nangyari sa love life ng ating bida at ng kanyang minahal.

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~ by targrod on July 28, 2012.

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