I disagree. To be the best, the film must be outstanding from the get-go. Niño was not. The first few sequences of the film were shaky. The film trying to find its footing.
It didn’t help that the screening I attended in GB3 was marred with technical glitches. The screen would turn blue, the characters speaking but without the audio. Screening had to stop for a few minutes and when continued, the audio lagged from what we were seeing.
Don’t get me wrong. The film is a great ensemble piece. The acting and ‘batuhan ng linya’ between and among the characters is probably the best I’ve seen in the festival. They don’t overdo it. Tamang-tama lang ang timpla.
The film is a slice of life. Siblings bickering. Old women reminiscing the golden past over black-and-white photos. Incest, (I get the vibes the elderly siblings have a sexual history). Homosexuality. Religiosity.
It is a film about responsibilities, about sacrifices, and about familial love which we see – rather than hear – through the tears from a daughter as she sees her father in his deathbed, an elderly woman giving a sponge bath to a stroke-stricken sibling, a brother lightly embracing a sister, and a father hugging a clueless son.
It’s one of the best films of this year’s crop. It’s not the best among the best, though.