Inspired from an article by Jessica Zafra titled “Is this a Golden Age of Philippine Cinema?”, I am also posting my top 10 best-list of Filipino films I have seen this year. As a firm believer and a supporter of what film making in the Philippines has become, seeing its growth the past couple of years or so, making a list of just 10 became quite a challenge. Although I have not seen all of the other good ones released (pressed by time and sometimes budget too), I believe I have seen enough that would testify and prove that the Philippine movie scene is thriving and is something to be proud of.
*clapper board* Action!
10. AMOR Y MUERTE, Ces Evangelista
A 16th Century period film, which means Love and Death. I think this is Ama Quiambao’s last film before she passed away. I loved how she played her role here, a crucial one. Newcomer Althea Vega sizzles as a Filipina married to a Spaniard played by Markki Stroem, but somehow fell for the snake-wielding Apitong. Note: Huwag pakawalan ang sawa! :)
9. DEBOSYON, Alvin Yapan
Idyllic setting, a haunting and mysterious lady, poetic, and lyrical. This film will have you very quiet and attentive, well at least that’s how it was for me. Quiet in a way that it will keep you focused with what’s going to happen; and attentive, for lack of a better word, because it caught my attention. A mix of myth, legend, and religion, it was an overall good film.
8. EKSTRA, Jeffrey Jeturian
A very light, funny, and touching movie. Easily became a favorite Ate Vi film. I didn’t see a Vilma Santos as an extra; what I saw was a lady, a mother doing all her best for her daughter, and is passionate in what she’s doing. A star for all seasons, indeed.
7. PUROK 7, Carlo Obispo
A happy and a sad film at the same time. Touching base on a sensitive but known Philippine issue, though not entirely dwelling on it, this movie was a breath of fresh air – from its setting, characters, and how the story was told. Krystle Valentino, the girl who played the lead role, was a natural. I won’t be surprised to see her in other films in the succeeding years. The ending made me feel better for Diana and her brother, and that’s enough for me. And oh, it’s on the 7th spot! I didn’t notice that. :)
6. TUHOG, Veronica Velasco
This is a Eugene Domingo film, I have to say. I love how she owned this movie. There are other stories and characters, of course, but I don’t know, I was engrossed by her role. Leo Martinez did great, too. I like his story and I really see him as this retired employee struggling with his time and family, and finding comfort through his friends. What made this film effective, I think, is its heart – speaking to its audience and sending a message across that all our lives are somehow connected and that we can all relate to each and everyone.
5. ON THE JOB, Erik Matti
Probably the most hyped and acclaimed Filipino film this year. But who can even argue – a big cast, a gripping tale of assassins and hired killers, Piolo Pascual, and yes, Cannes! Setting all those aside, it was a great film. Although I have to admit I got a bit hesitant to watch it because it stars big names, but it didn’t disappoint. This, however, belonged to Joel Torre. What a moving performance!
4. BABAGWA, Jason Laxamana
I was raving after watching this film, wanting for more. A nail-biter of a story, I believe most of the audience in the theater was just as pumped as I was waiting for the next scenes to happen. What a ride, this film is! Fresh, current, and engaging characters. MORE!!
3. ANG HULING CHA-CHA NI ANITA, Sigrid Andrea Bernardo
A film so brave, yet so sensitive; funny yet so heart-warming, candid, insightful and amusing. It discussed a lot of topics and issues most of us Filipinos are well aware of, but are just too “personal” to be willing to be shared at. The film succeeded in bridging and crossing that gap, in a very light and non-intuitive manner. Aside from the premise, what I loved most were the kids – very charming and natural. I believe they are one of the film’s strength. Definitely a must-see!
2. SANA DATI, Jerrold Tarog
Engulfed. Encaptured. These two words can probably best describe the feeling I had after watching this gem of a film. I know I can speak for some others who have seen it, and I know there are more fitting words. Or maybe not. This is Lovi Poe in her most defining moment. I may be exaggerating, but yeah, I felt her pain and longing the entire time. The supporting cast did not fail either. And when Up Dharma Down’s Indak was played at the end…t*@$#!^%!!
1. TRANSIT, Hannah Espia
Moments after seeing Transit, I tweeted that it can very well be our entry to the Oscars next year. A month or so after, it became official! But this film being an Oscar material is not the main reason why I picked it as my number 1 film. It’s at the top spot, simply because it is deserving to be at the top. I am not a film critic, really, I am far from being one. I just love watching movies, and I really believe in this film. Whether or not it becomes successful in bringing us our country’s first ever Oscar, or even a nomination for that matter, Transit will remain a favorite of mine.
So, there. I hope to see more quality Filipino films next year and the years to come. I hope that the promise these films are giving becomes a trend, and that directors and producers won’t get tired of coming up with good ones. We need more and more of these type of movies! Let us encourage other people to watch and support our very own. It will be a good start.
*clapper board* Cut!