In line with the shift towards the new normal through the online space, the Maginhawa Film Festival moves forward through an online streaming service to bring cinema closer to us within the comfort and safety of our homes. With this year’s theme of Transition, the festival presents stories that showcase movement in different periods, perspectives, and people. Here are my five favorites from this year’s set of fourteen films from the open category.
Ang Nagliliyab na Kasaysayan ng Pamilya Dela Cruz (dir. Miguel Louie de Guzman)
Narrative films about the Martial Law Era have always been presented through the urban landscape. Ang Nagliliyab na Kasaysayan ng Pamilya Dela Cruz situates this era in the rural area through the humble barrio and rice fields of the Dela Cruz family that are packaged in classic film styling and radio drama dialogue, bringing closer to us the lives of peasant farmers dealing with ongoing conflicts of violence and exploitation due to the harsh political climate and social stature they inhabit. Through the Dela Cruz family, we are shown a history that resonates in the present and continues to ignite action among people facing the continued injustices they experienced.
Nilalang (dir. Juan Carlo Tarobal)
The film places one at the bystander perspective. Having the main events take place through a blurred lens immerses the audience into viewing the scenario with the subtle discomfort of displacement; forced to eavesdrop over a conversation taking place in the police station drawing them into a dialogue that appears clear on its malice intentions but are left faceless and vague for the viewer. This out-of-focus observation Nilalang places us in offers a reality that often happens right past our line of sight, wherein conversations filled with unease can lead to greater consequences when left unheard.
Dude Pare Bro (dir. Lora Cerdan)
Dude Pare Bro is a comedy that takes the genre in the afloat and unpredictable experience of college. Filled with antics and havoc between two college students facing undesirable circumstances, the film takes one for the ride of what is to come next for the duo. The chemistry between the two main characters shine in their exchanges of bickering and bantering, and their dynamic built in the face of these circumstances makes them a fit pair to be seen even beyond the fourteen-minute short.
Tayo (dir. Ron Dulatre & Elaiza Rivera)
Pop culture references and tropes in films often take a lot of effort to get right, but Tayo hits those punchlines. It uses stand-up comedy structure in the delivery of its narrative. Through breaking of the fourth wall in fleshing out its characters and jokes that can admittedly be corny, we see the coming-of-age-like narrative of the main character towards standing up for himself for his career.
Viral Kids (dir. Arjanmar H. Rebeta)
Trending videos on social media have always been proven to be taken out of context with their content. Often filtered beyond the screen are the graver social injustices these people face behind the scenes that mobile devices fail to capture. Viral Kids explores this trend by capturing the lives of kids starring in these videos beyond the social media feeds. This unveils the grimy reality involved in the production of this kind of entertainment, a system that exploits and takes advantage of these kids instead of bringing attention to their situation. This angle urges us to pay closer attention to the pressing matters behind the things we consume online.