Festivals, Reviews

Vision Unbarred: Cinemalaya 2020 Short Films A&B in Review

I have never been to a Cinemalaya screening. Pampanga is a relatively urban province located near Metro Manila, but even there, Cinemalaya—one of the most celebrated Filipino film festivals— has never been given the promotion that it so rightly deserves. Often overshadowed by western pictures, big budget movies, and given short-lived slots in cinemas, the… Continue reading Vision Unbarred: Cinemalaya 2020 Short Films A&B in Review

Reviews

‘Kung Paano Siya Nawala’: The Many Faces of Love

“Yung iba nadaanan ko lang, yung iba, dumaan sandali,” Shana (Rhian Ramos) remarks, as Lio (JM De Guzman) admires the sea of photographs on her wall. Meeting new people is easy but committing them to memory may prove to be more challenging, especially if they have caused you pain in the past. Such is the… Continue reading ‘Kung Paano Siya Nawala’: The Many Faces of Love

Reviews

‘An Easy Girl’: Gazing at Girlhood

It’s no exaggeration when I say western coming-of-age movies directed by men broke my brain. It didn’t matter if it had a female protagonist that made it appear more relatable—it always centered on sex, the plot is rooted on sex, the characters are motivated by sex, the story is furthered by sex, the resolution is… Continue reading ‘An Easy Girl’: Gazing at Girlhood

Reviews

‘Da 5 Bloods’: Dealing with the Past and Facing the Future

“After you’ve been in a war, you understand that it never really ends.” This line from the movie Da 5 Bloods perfectly encapsulates the idea that award-winning director Spike Lee wanted to portray in his new film. Never one to shy away from controversial issues and ideas, Lee has brilliantly woven a narrative made from… Continue reading ‘Da 5 Bloods’: Dealing with the Past and Facing the Future

Reviews

‘Sunday Beauty Queen’ and Their One Day of Freedom

Baby Ruth Villarama’s Sunday Beauty Queen is set in the urban landscape of Hong Kong, with its high-rise buildings, four-lane roads, and modern walkways. We witness Filipino domestic helpers gather on a Sunday—their usual day-off—for a beauty pageant they organized. With glittery make-up, expensive-looking costumes, and a noisy audience, they seem to be having the… Continue reading ‘Sunday Beauty Queen’ and Their One Day of Freedom

Reviews

‘A Secret Love’: Seven Decades of Lesbian Romance

Netflix, with its string of endless content, delivers a heartfelt documentary about two women, Terry Donahue and Pat Henschel, and their secret relationship of nearly seven decades. Directed by Donahue’s great-nephew Chris Bolan, A Secret Love dives into these women’s love story, from how they met around the end of World War II to how… Continue reading ‘A Secret Love’: Seven Decades of Lesbian Romance

Reviews

‘The Half of It’: A Love Story in More Ways than One

From the beginning of The Half of It, our protagonist, Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis), warns us that this is not a love story. Or at least not the kind where everybody gets what they want.  Ellie Chu, a Chinese immigrant and straight-A student, lives with her father in the small fictional town of Squahamish. In… Continue reading ‘The Half of It’: A Love Story in More Ways than One

Reviews

‘The Silence of the Marsh’: A Hollow Attempt

All crime stories have similar components: questionable characters, secrets kept, and a hero dedicated to stopping it. Establishing these parts look easy enough but watching any bad crime film quickly reveals how hard it is to execute. Such is the case for The Silence of the Marsh. The film focuses on the life of a… Continue reading ‘The Silence of the Marsh’: A Hollow Attempt

Reviews

‘Never Rarely Sometimes Always’ and the Secret Language of Women

One thing that sets apart stories by men filmmakers from stories by women filmmakers is that female characters from the latter speak their own language, one that transcends the fickleness of words. Those oppressed by the capitalist-patriarchal system are continuously silenced; and because their voice never reaches outside them, they develop a lingua franca unique… Continue reading ‘Never Rarely Sometimes Always’ and the Secret Language of Women

Reviews

‘Onward’: A Heartwarming Family Adventure

Pixar and Disney are prone to repetitive, formulaic storytelling. That’s why seeing last year’s Oscar for Best Animation be taken by Sony Animations is so refreshing; until Disney took back the prize this year. Dan Scanlon’s Onward, from the surface, appears to be another feature that follows the same formula, but with mythological creatures this… Continue reading ‘Onward’: A Heartwarming Family Adventure