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

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

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