Essays

Emerging Aswangs in the Urban Landscape: Intentional Horror in Realism and the Conscious Visual Language of ‘Aswang’ (2019)

They never happened in the avenues; they always happen in the alleys. My childhood friend lost her father because of Rodrigo Duterte’s Oplan Tokhang. I was 15 when the killings started. I saw the picture on the Facebook page of The Philippine Star. It feels different when the victim is very close to you; I… Continue reading Emerging Aswangs in the Urban Landscape: Intentional Horror in Realism and the Conscious Visual Language of ‘Aswang’ (2019)

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

Festivals, Lists

Cinemalaya 2020 — 5 Best Indie Nation Shorts

A lineup of more than twenty films is guaranteed to be a mixed bag. What stood out from the pack were the personal, the somber, and the sentimental. These shorts are, more than anything, love letters, to the people in them and to the medium itself. Below are the best of Cinemalaya 16’s Indie Nation… Continue reading Cinemalaya 2020 — 5 Best Indie Nation Shorts

Essays

‘Lady Bird’ and Finding Truth Within Yourself

Growing up is an experience that everyone goes through at different points of their life, and coming-of-age stories have always been there to document this process. This kind of film comes and goes, but when one creeps up out of nowhere and leaves an impact on me, I hold it in my heart forever. Greta… Continue reading ‘Lady Bird’ and Finding Truth Within Yourself

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

Essays

‘Saving Face:’ On Family Pressures and the Importance of Happy Endings

Scrolling through common lesbian film recommendations, one can notice a glaring similarity: most feature two white women. Sure, there are one or two films with women of color, but most of the time they are forgotten. Recently, there have been efforts to shed light on stories of lesbian women of color in Pariah, The Handmaiden,… Continue reading ‘Saving Face:’ On Family Pressures and the Importance of Happy Endings

Essays

Collective Memories of Film Piracy: The Disregarded Movement Against Cinema Elitism

Our church is on the top floor of a mall in Ortigas. The pastor would often joke about churchgoers who head to the ground floor to where the DVDs were located after the service. I didn’t understand what was wrong about it, but my mom stopped buying DVDs after that. The DVD vendors seemed to… Continue reading Collective Memories of Film Piracy: The Disregarded Movement Against Cinema Elitism

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