Cinemalaya X Super Short and Spoiler-Free (I Think?) Reviews

Hmm, it’s been a while since I last posted here. Just a quick update on my life: I finally landed a job (cue applause and confetti)! I like what I’m doing so far (I’m in the publishing industry, btw. My dream industry!). But this means sleeping as soon as I get home from work, hence the lack of updates in the blog. I’m still figuring out a proper balance between work and fun, and I really hope I figure it out soon.

Anyway, I watched four films from this year’s Cinemalaya. I must admit, I had a difficult time choosing films to watch, partly because I actually wanted to watch all films this year, and partly because the films sold out pretty fast. This year, I watched 1st ko si 3rd, Asintado, K’na, the Dreamweaver, and Sonata. I initially wanted to watch Hustisya and Mariquina, but they were already sold out when I went out to purchase tickets the day before their August 2 screenings (boo).

Pardon the lack of substantiality of this tweet, because this was the first thing that popped into my mind. She really looks like Cecily Strong, and the resemblance is uncanny. Anyway, I liked this film–it’s bittersweet and lighthearted. The only mistake, in my opinion, was its poor dialogue delivery; it seemed too singsong-y and just a tad bit unbelievable. But other than that–cinematography, plot–it’s great. The colors are gorgeous. And I found an affinity not for the leads Corazon (Nova Villa) and Third (Freddie Webb), but for Corazon’s husband, Alejandro (Dante Rivero).

After watching Asintado, my friends and I left the theater with faces scrunched up in disappointment. It’s been two weeks since I saw the film, and now that I think about it, I can’t recall those redeeming qualities.  In the last few minutes of the film, the background song explained everything that happened to the film to its viewers. It was pretty annoying. Not only is the film served to you; they also cut it up for you, and it’s really, for a lack of a better term, nakakabanas. My friends and I have the same thoughts about it: the story had great potential, yet it was executed poorly.

I appreciate the language and linguistic work that went to this film. This movie is in T’boli, FYI. At first, I worried about Mara Lopez’s delivery of her lines, but as the film progressed, it seemed more natural. It’s also one of the films with satisfactory endings; the closure of the conflicts wrapped up well. The colors are fantastic too, and I’d like to think it has captured the glorious T’boli costumes properly. Out of the four films I watched that day, this was my number one. I’m not the biggest fan of love stories, but this is one love story I’d consider a favorite.

And Sonata is my second fave. I really loved this, but the story seemed pretty familiar (like it’s something I’ve read/seen before, but I just couldn’t remember), but it’s interesting all the same. I found myself d’aww-ing at some scenes. And Cherie Gil, as usual, gives a fucking awesome performance, and proves once more that she is a powerhouse in Philippine films. The lines of the lead kid actor (I didn’t get his name, boo) were fit for a child (unlike those that I see/hear today in TV shows, where they give kids lines that I’m pretty sure kids wouldn’t say), which means it had a fantastic script. I had a feeling that I’ve seen the house where the story is set on Oro, Plata, Mata, and turns out I was right. The film was directed by Peque Gallaga, who also directed Oro, Plata, Mata, and which Cherie Gil also starred in. I guess it must have been fun for the both of them to work on that set again, hehe.

A final thought:

I’m still hoping that there’d be special screenings for Hustisya and Mariquina in the future though. How about you? Did you watch any of the Cinemalaya films this year?