Festivals, Reviews

Cinemalaya 2019: ‘F#*@BOIS’ – The Politics of Appearances

After 2013’s Quick Change and 2016’s Pamilya Ordinaryo, Eduardo Roy, Jr. returns to Cinemalaya with F#*@BOIS, a provocative crime thriller about bikini pageant contestants Ace (Royce Cabrera) and Miko (Kokoy De Santos) who also sideline as male escorts to their rich, closeted gay patron Mayor Fernan (Ricky Davao). The film, for which Roy won as… Continue reading Cinemalaya 2019: ‘F#*@BOIS’ – The Politics of Appearances

Festivals, Reviews

Cinemalaya 2019: ‘Belle Douleur’ – An Imperfect Yet Refreshing Take on an Emerging Trend

Women are often defined by the people that surround them. They are their parents’ daughters, their husbands’ wives, and their children’s mothers. A woman defining her own person outside of these labels undergoes a long and laborious process that’s never easy. In Belle Douleur, we are taken into a journey of self-actualization and are returned… Continue reading Cinemalaya 2019: ‘Belle Douleur’ – An Imperfect Yet Refreshing Take on an Emerging Trend

Festivals, Reviews

Cinemalaya 2019: ‘Pandanggo Sa Hukay’ – A Tired Tale of Pseudo Feminism

TW: Mentions of sexual abuse and rape. What’s the point? I spent almost two hours asking myself this as I watched this film unfold before my very eyes. Even after the audience clapped and the credits rolled, I was asking myself what the point of the whole film was. Pandaggo Sa Hukay is a story… Continue reading Cinemalaya 2019: ‘Pandanggo Sa Hukay’ – A Tired Tale of Pseudo Feminism

Festivals, Reviews

Cinemalaya 2019: ‘Iska’ – A Realistic Portrait that Failed to Say Anything Real

We open to a scene that takes its time drawing in breath, holding it in for as long as it can until the inevitable exhale. It is a practiced patience, a testament to the unconditional love this life-beaten grandmother has for the autistic grandson her daughter abandoned. If, like a practiced diver, the film held… Continue reading Cinemalaya 2019: ‘Iska’ – A Realistic Portrait that Failed to Say Anything Real

Festivals, Reviews

Cinemalaya 2019: ‘Children of the River’ – A Coming-of-Age Apology for State-Sponsored Violence

On May 23, 2017, government forces clashed with members of the rebel group Maute in Marawi City, Lanao Del Sur. What followed was a five-month conflict displacing thousands of civilians, leaving the city in ruins and taking lives from both sides. The island of Mindanao was placed in Martial Law, which is still in effect… Continue reading Cinemalaya 2019: ‘Children of the River’ – A Coming-of-Age Apology for State-Sponsored Violence

Festivals, Reviews

Cinemalaya 2019: ‘ANi’ – A Misguided Visual Feast

Out of all the Cinemalaya films this year, ANi: The Harvest was the one I was most excited to watch. Since last year's announcement that this futuristic sci-fi film made it to the main competition section of the festival, online publicity and marketing have been nonstop. The film crew, headed by directors Kim Zuñiga and… Continue reading Cinemalaya 2019: ‘ANi’ – A Misguided Visual Feast

Festivals, Reviews

Cinemalaya 2019: ‘Tabon’ – A Confused, Pointless Crime Thriller

A confession: during the first 30 minutes or so of Tabon, actor Xian Lim's first foray into directing features, I actually thought I'd end up enjoying it. For a directorial debut, it had a commendable patience that I would expect from more experienced filmmakers. The film had this eerie, macabre atmosphere, subtly hinting at the… Continue reading Cinemalaya 2019: ‘Tabon’ – A Confused, Pointless Crime Thriller

Festivals, Reviews

Cinemalaya 2019: ‘Edward’ – Social Tragedy in Small-Scale

Thop Nazareno’s latest Cinemalaya feature opens with a day in the life of a public hospital doctor. Throughout the shot’s periphery, patients of varying degrees of urgency all sit untreated, and those who are given attention still suffer from medical tool shortage. With the current doctor-patient ratio in the country being 1:33,000, this poignant long… Continue reading Cinemalaya 2019: ‘Edward’ – Social Tragedy in Small-Scale

Festivals, Reviews

Cinemalaya 2019: Shorts A, Ranked

With each film concise and barely reaching the 20-minute mark, this year’s Shorts A program is exploratory, mostly revelatory, and dripping in poignancy. Here are the first set of shorts from this year’s Cinemalaya, ranked. 5. Sa Gabing Tanging Liwanag ay Paniniwala (dir. Francis Amir Guillermo) Soliman Cruz shines in this dimly lit nail-biter that gets… Continue reading Cinemalaya 2019: Shorts A, Ranked

Festivals, Reviews

Cinemalaya 2019: ‘John Denver Trending’ – Re-evaluating Humanity in the Digital Age

When scientists began developing the internet in the 1980s, no one could have predicted the impact it would have on the world a few decades later. The internet has made it easier for people to connect with each other, raise awareness on various issues, and create discourse. If analyzed through the lens of Jürgen Habermas's… Continue reading Cinemalaya 2019: ‘John Denver Trending’ – Re-evaluating Humanity in the Digital Age