Sunday, 11 December 2016

Poll: What films are you going to watch at the Metro Manila Film Festival 2016

 It's the most wonderful time of the year. As part of our yearly tradition this Christmas season, only local films will be shown in cinemas for 2 weeks. Among the entries of this year's Metro Manila Film Festival, what film are you going to watch? Based on the posters, teasers and trailers released which film has an appeal to you?

Starring: Dominic Roque. Ronnie Alonte, Rhed Bustamante, Phoebe Walker, Elora Espano, Neil Ryan Sese, Lou Veloso, John Vic De Guzman and JR Versales

Directed By: Erik Matti

Film Citation Why Chosen As Official Entry to MMFF 2016

A horror film as intelligent as this has not been seen in a long, long time. Rising above the tried and tested tricks of engendering terror in the audiences, this Erik Matti masterpiece fearlessly delves into the difference and conflict between religion and spirituality, and raises questions about the sincerity of those that claim to preach the word of God.

A week before they are ordained, four candidates for the priesthood spend time in an old retreat house, to examine their consciences and the purity of their religious intentions. All the candidates must face the gravest sins of their past, which comes back to them in grotesque physical forms.

Shot with amber filter that bathes every scene in a surreal light, the film is notable for deftly manipulating and shifting sizes and angles of shots and movements of the camera in order to make palpable the confusion and horror felt by each character. The visualization of the monsters of past since as tiyanak-like creatures to examine their inner selves, as the film shocks the audience with its own reflection in the cinematic mirror.


Eugene Domingo is back as “Eugene Domingo” in this much-anticipated follow-up to the independent box-office hit movie, Ang Babae sa Septic Tank. Together with her director/writer (Rainier), her line producer (Jocelyn) and their rookie production assistant (Lennon), Eugene prepares for her comeback vehicle after a long sabbatical from moviemaking. Rainier proposes “The Itinerary,” a heartbreaking anatomy of a crumbling marriage as told through a couple’s trip to Baguio, their former honeymoon location. Eugene Domingo is excited by the project but she has other ideas in mind. In the film-within-the-film, we see Eugene’s absurd suggestions and recommendations -- changing Rainier’s script by employing the poetics of the Pinoy romantic comedy genre into what is supposedly a realistic portrayal of love and marriage.

Starring: Jericho Rosales, Kean Cipriano, Cai Cortez, Khalil Ramos with Joel Torre and Eugene Domingo.

Introducing Gui Adorno and Bb. Joyce Bernal

Story and Screenplay: Chris Martinez

Directed By: Marlon Rivera

 Film Citation Why Chosen As Official Entry to MMFF 2016

Where the original film satirized the sensationalistic tendencies of the indie film and the dishonesty of directors who make films for foreign festivals, this sequel launches a pointed but hilarious commentary on the pretensions and machinations that characterize the mainstream movie industry and its stars and superstars in our day. 

An indie filmmaker writes a very personal script about his own deteriorating marriage and hopes superstar Ms. Eugene Domingo will consider starring in it.

But when he and his assistants comes to see her in a spa, Ms. Domingo suggests “slight changes” in the script, so she can live out her own fantasies (as a beautiful young girl, in love with a handsome young boy half her age). With a mangled script, the director storms out of the spa. But Ms. Domingo goes on and makes the movie in her mind anyway.

While this comedy may be seen as a film reflecting on itself or a self-reflexive film, it is nonetheless a film that will appeal as well to all moviegoing Filipinos who will profit from and enjoy seeing through the falsities and frivolities of the mainstream movies they have been watching for decades.

With wit that sparkles in carefully-crafted dialogue and acting that shines way above the common place, this comedy tickles both the mind and the funnybone.

Trisha, a transgender woman who makes a living as a beauty contestant, dies unexpectedly. Before she died, her one last wish was to remain beautiful even in death. This moving work, filled with laughs, is the latest effort by Jun Robles Lana.

 Starring: Paolo Ballesteros, Joel Torre, Gladys Reyes, Luis Alandy, Albie CasiƱo, Christian Bables, Inah De Belen, IC Mendoza, Cedric Juan, Lou Veloso

Directed By:Jun Lana

 Film Citation Why Chosen As Official Entry to MMFF 2016

This heartwarming gay film deftly combines comedy and drama to chronicle the glamor, gloom, and glory of one transgender’s short, short life.

After being verbally and physically abused by his father for years, Patrick is finally thrown out of the house for being gay. But as one door closes, many others open. Patrick transforms into the ravishing transgender Trisha, his long-time dream.

Refusing to be bitter about her rejection and a gang rape in high school, she becomes a loving mother to an adopted daughter, a devoted partner to her lover, and a loyal confidante to her gay sisters. She also wins a beauty contest. Through her gay sisters’ machinations, she even gets her final bucket wish list.

Under the masterful direction of Jun Robles Lana, the film engages with its crisp and witty beki dialogue, the quiet and nuanced performances of Trisha and Barbie which reveal character rather than stereotype, and the marvelous transformation of Trisha’s face from Britney Spears to Julia Roberts, Beyonce, and Angelina Jolie.

Here the gay man is no longer the object of derision but a cause for celebration.

Starring: Julia Baretto. Ronnie Alonte, Joshua Garcia, Maris Racal

Directed By: Theodore Boborol

Starring: Hazel Perdial, Marlyn Jocob, Cherry Bretania, Leo Selomenio

Directed By: Baby Ruth Villarama

 Film Citation Why Chosen As Official Entry to MMFF 2016

A four-year in the making documentary film, directed by Babyruth Villarama-Gutierrez, from the same producers of "Heneral Luna".

For the longest time, Filipinos have equated film with feature or narrative films, or films that tell a story, to the exclusion of other film forms, like animation, the experimental film, and the documentary. In contrast to the feature film, the documentary presents and interprets actualities, meaning real people, places, and events. But it has as much power as a feature film to move audiences. There is only one documentary in the festival and it is precious for being a well-researched, well-crafted, insightful and engaging documentary on Overseas Filipino Workers.

In Hong Kong, Filipina domestic helpers spend hours of back-breaking work, serving families and individuals, both kind and unkind. They suffer loneliness, accept low pay and inhuman working conditions, and are forever insecure about their jobs. But on Sunday, nothing but nothing can stop them from organizing, joining or watching the beauty contests which have become occasions for entertainment, socialization, fund-raising for a loan fund, and racial solidarity. In these contests, the working girls are magically and suddenly transformed into beauty queens.

Shot intermittently over a period of four years, the film unfolds in its own unhurried pace, like the lives of the main characters it focuses on. With a hand-held camera, it follows the characters as they walk to the supermarket, cook in a cramped kitchen, talk to relatives in the Philippines over the cell phone, walk the dog and bring the kid to school, or feed a senior employer. By the end of the film, the characters have bared their souls to us and we have opened our hearts to them.

Starring: Nora Aunor, Ricky Davao, Jason Abalos, JC de Vera, Kiko Matos, Victor Neri, Menggie Cobarubias, Ces Quesada, Karl Medina, Ronlwaldo Martin, RJ Agustin, Alex San Agustin

Directed By: Real Florido and Arturo Boy San Agustin

Film Citation Why Chosen As Official Entry to MMFF 2016

This socio-political drama unfolds as a quietly powerful and gripping story of a tightly-knit family coming to grips with abusive elements of Philippine society, specifically the hooded perpetrators of extra-judicial killings.

Taking issue with human rights violations doesn’t only serve the film as fine advocacy for its relevant and timely choice of theme, but also subtly reveals various other concerns imbedded in the thread of conflicts.

A sure, steady directorial hand, conscientious script and effective cinematography are matched by the lead actors’ faultless performances.

This taut and tragic drama will disturb viewers with its stark chronology of what confronts us daily in an often oppressive urban milieu, with the final imagery delivering a subtle footnote to our awareness of the proper place of vaunted justice in our society.

The film is about the lives of simple folk caught between the crossfire of Kapitana accused of political patronage, and Patrol Kalikasan using the environment as a front for their own political and economic interests on the small mining community. As the provincial government and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) fight over the jurisdiction over small-scale mining operations, Elmer and Linda suffer the devastating consequences of the legacy of violence and corruption of the country’s turbulent political and ideological history.

Starring: Joem Bascon, Mercedes Cabral, Sandino Martin, Sue Prado, Arrian Labios, Cedrick Juan,Biboy Ramirez, Ronald Regala, Tracy Quila, Timothy Castillo, Acey Aguilar, Sunshine Teodoro and Ms. Irma Adlawan as "Kapitana"
Directed By: Alvin Yapan

Film Citation Why Chosen As Official Entry to MMFF 2016

The film is about a small mining community who gets in peril when it faced predations with armed men misrepresenting government authorities. One saving grace is a resonant leader, provided by their barangay captain, a lady who has served her constituency for decades. But her courage and moral ascendancy are not enough to prevent tragic consequences in this characteristic conflicts, when small people suffer the greed of others who ruled by the gun. Social-political oppression can only turn a corner towards another saving grace, that is a mythical poetic ending. 

Marty is an aspiring comic-book

artist who is secretly in love with his beautiful best friend, Sally, the gadget inventor. Like every love story, there are complications: Sally has abusive monster parents and a literal dick for a boyfriend, while Marty has the innate ability to do nothing about everything despite his vivid fantasies of defending the love of his life from the big bad world.

Starring: Rhian Ramos, Enzo Marcos, TJ Trinidad

Directed By: Avid Liongoren

 Film Citation Why Chosen As Official Entry to MMFF 2016

There is much going for this multi-genre film mounted by a small team of young animators who engaged in a ten-year effort to come up with an atypical youthful love story replete with child-like fantasy elements as applied through 2D animation.

Chivalry among the youth is manifested as a realistic element that also lightens up the urban setting, apart from adding to the innovative sources of delight.

While the dialogue is mostly in English, especially among the lead characters who are engaged in graphic design, comic books and video games, it faithfully represents a demographic among our Westernized youth that are beholden to a global outlook and contemporary inclinations as well as creative pursuits.

Frolicsome play wins the day for these youths that we can’t help but cheer on. 

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