Here is the list of my favorite Filipino films this year. Please click on the title for a link to the trailers.
1.33 Aparisyon. The trailer got me. And the movie didn’t disappoint about nuns cloistered in a convent in the middle of the forest as political unrest goes on outside. Terrific acting from all cast.
1.33 Give Up Tomorrow. This is about the celebrated trial in the late 90s about the rape and murder of two siblings by members of powerful Cebu clans. The documentary focuses on Paco Larranaga and his insistence of his innocence. This film makes you a believer of Paco and aghast of the state of the Philippine Justice System.
1.33 Ang Nawawala. A guy in his late teens returns from the USA for the holidays. He refuses to speaks since his twin died in an accident when they were still young. It is a coming-of-age sort of film with terrific performances from Dominic Roco and Annicka Dolonius.
4.50 Kalayaan. A Filipino soldier mans a deserted island in the hotly-contested Spratlys Island in the far south. There is not much dialogue in the film but it is still captivating and beautifully photographed.
4.50 Sta Niña. A man accidentally uncovers his daughter’s coffin many years after her death and unravels past hurts and broken hearts that has not fully-healed. Watch out for Irma Adlawan where she out-acts Coco Martin, Alessandra de Rossi, and Anita Linda in one terrific sequence.
6.25 Batang Westside. A five-hour epic about a Filipino man shot in the streets of New Jersey and the investigation that follows. Metaphors and symbolisms are everywhere in this film by Lav Diaz. I think Diaz’s Melancholia was a more powerful film than this one. But then that’s just me.
6.25 I Do Bidoo Bidoo. A musical film featuring the songs of the Apo Hiking Society. Entertaining all throughout. You’ll get your money’s worth on one sequence: Ogie Alcasid and Euegene Domingo singing a Di Na Natuto/Kabilugan ng Buwan mashup.
6.25 Mamay Umeng. A story of an old man awaiting death. Beautifully photographed with scenes getting replayed, showing how in the twilight of one’s life it becomes routinary and slowly some of those who come after you forget that you exist.
6.25 Requieme. Loy Arcenas, in his second Cinemalaya entry after last year’s Nino, directs a black comedy about intertwining stories related to deaths. Good performances all-over particularly Anthony Falcon as the cross-dressing lost son of Shamaine Buencamino.
10.0 Rigodon. The best film about adultery in recent years. The long sequences peppered throughout the film is effective in pushing the suspense and dread particularly on the final act. Max Eigenmann is a standout.
11.0 Mater Dolorosa. A stoic Gina Alajar plays the matriarch of a family involved in jueteng and carnapping. Their business is attacked when a rival, the son of the newly-elected mayor, enters the picture. Talented veteran actors Phillip Salvador, Bembol Roco, Anita Linda, and Rosanna Roces play supporting roles.
12.0 Mga Mumunting Lihim. This is not a great film. But since I need to add one more to my list of 12, I chose this. The film might not be great but the acting is – particularly Janice de Belen and Agot Isidro. The performance can be over-the-top at times but it was still a hoot to watch.