Yes, it’s back. I made it a point to catch a lot of films when I went on a vacation in the Philippines last October to November. Although I still missed a lot (especially the new and revamped MMFF huhubelz), I believe I have seen enough. Below are my top 10. Drum roll, please.
10. BABOY HALAS, Bagane Fiola (QCinema Film Festival)
I loved every minute of this film. Dark, gritty, and real. It was like watching a documentary about indigenous tribes and seeing it come alive. What I loved the most was the dream scenes – hazy and encompassing. It’s as if I was the one dreaming.
9. BAKA BUKAS, Samantha Lee (Cinema One Originals)
This film has too much pain and too much beauty. If you want to see it just because of Jasmine Curtis Smith, by all means go and watch. This is probably the highlight of her career so far. I felt her the entire time – those eyes grabe. Ang galing. Very well deserved of that Best Actress win! Note: I craved for tapa after watching hihi
8. VINCE & KATH & JAMES, Theodore Boborol (Metro Manila Film Festival)
The only film I watched here in Dubai. And I must say, kinilig ako haha! Lakas maka-high school eh. It was a mix of old school and modern times (?) kilig in the presence of technology. In the movie are Anna Abad Santos, Shamaine Buencamino, Jeric Raval, and Ina Raymundo – it made my 90’s kid heart happy! Also you have to watch out for this Joshua Garcia guy. Acting in spades.
7. 2COOL 2B 4GOTTEN, Petersen Vargas (Cinema One Originals)
This is such a brave film. Definitely not your usual coming-of-age movie. I loved that it discussed our (Filipinos) admiration for anything American – how we give them high regard, how we see them as the good guys, and how it affected our culture and our nation negatively. Great performance from Khalil Ramos! Easily became one of my favorite characters.
6. PATAY NA SI HESUS, Victor Villanueva (QCinema Film Festival)
Best. Comedy. Film. Of. 2016. Hands down! Told mostly in Bisaya, which I think made it even funnier. Half the time I was not reading the subtitles because I can understand what they were saying. I would love to watch this again. If this will have a wide release, please see it! Highlarious!
5. ANG BABAENG HUMAYO, Lav Diaz
Seems like Lav never disappoints, and I don’t think that he ever will. It was almost 4 hours, but the way the film was made kept me awake. I will always be a fan of black and white movies. Sobrang ganda eh. And well, Charo Santos-John Lloyd Cruz-Michael De Mesa-with matching Golden Bear at the Venice Film Festival for Best Film combo. Ano pa bang hahanapin mo, bes?
4. LILY, Keith Deligero (Cinema One Originals)
I still don’t understand some parts of the movie up until now, and I think that’s what made it beautiful; and that’s what makes a film beautiful – if after watching it you question everything. There’s no need for an answer, and you don’t have to answer (if no one is asking you. Where’s my point here? I don’t know). But this is one crazy film. One that really stood out for me at the Cinema One Originals. Parang ang lakas ng trip ng direktor, ganun ka-lala.
3. WOMEN OF THE WEEPING RIVER, Sheron Dayoc (QCinema Film Festival)
Every frame of this film is perfection. I may be exaggerating, but to me, it is. The astounding cinematography, the breathtaking shots. Touching base on a feud between two Muslim communities, this movie is about “war” and violence but has the power to make peace. We seriously need more films like this – brave, has a distinct taste, and deeply rooted by our culture. One that we can proudly call our very own.
2. SI MAGDALOLA AT ANG MGA GAGO, Jules Katanyag (Cinema One Originals)
What a trippy film. Lakas maka-high haha! If Lily was crazy, this is WILD. I would like to think that this a mix of Trainspotting, Kill Bill, and Petrang Kabayo. Mga ganun, kahit walang sense yung combination. Totally enjoyed watching it.
1. PAMILYA ORDINARYO, Eduardo Roy Jr. (Cinemalaya)
Now, this. If I were tasked to have a foreigner friend watch one Filipino film, I would have him watch Pamilya Ordinaryo. This movie has fangs, man. Kakagatin ka talaga. Baka nga magka-rabies ka pa. And I mean it in a good way – that it will have a mark on you after watching it. I left Cinema 76 with a heavy heart. Ang bigat sa puso nung ending eh. And the lead stars were so good!
So that’s it. I hope to catch some more this year. With the buzz MMFF made, I am pretty sure we are off to a new start, a new phase of Philippine cinema. And I am quite excited about that. Until my next list! 🙂