Showcase for ‘dream films’By Nestor U. Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
WHEN we helped conceptualize the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and Competition, we were keen about discovering and providing production grants to new filmmakers via two modes—full-length features and 20-minute short films.
In addition, we hoped that even established filmmakers could eventually be accommodated by way of a third mode that would help make possible the production of their “dream films,” story and thematic concepts deemed uncommercial by the mainstream industry. In our view, the age or provenance of the filmmaker wasn’t important—what was key was the need to produce good movies any which way, to enrich and enlarge local film buffs’ viewing options.
That’s why we’re happy that Cinemalaya’s Directors’ Showcase has come into its own as a venue for more established filmmakers’ new works. In fact, this year’s edition promises to be the best one yet, with full-length features on provocative themes by Jose Javier Reyes, Jun Lana, Raymond Red, and Cinemalaya “graduates,” Adolf Alix and Lawrence Fajardo.
Reyes’ “Mga Mumunting Lihim” is about the death of Mariel (Judy Ann Santos) and the impact it has on her three closest friends, played by Iza Calzado, Janice de Belen and Agot Isidro. “Inside those diaries are all the little secrets that the women have kept from one another—all the hidden emotions, stories and comments that made their lives a sham. Death should provide closure, but it can also be a terrible beginning and realization of what has been hidden by the living.”
Added incentive for seeing this movie is the fact that it showcases the comeback film performances of Judy Ann and Janice.
Death is also one of the themes explored by the drama-comedy, “Bwakaw,” written and directed by Jun Lana. In the film, Eddie Garcia plays an old man who finally comes out of the closet at age 70. “Ailing in his twilight years, he’s made a will leaving his few possessions to his even fewer friends. But, his dog, Bwakaw, is stricken by cancer, and the old gay is surprisingly affected.
“In his struggle to get Bwakaw cured, he finds a new appreciation for life. He decides to unpack the things that he has already willed to other people. He is, after all, still alive.”
Alix’s “Kalayaan” combines reality and fantasy in its story about Julian, a Filipino soldier (Ananda Everingham) stationed in Kalayaan. A pending coup d’etat in Manila extends his stay on the island where, “with nothing to do, he and the other soldiers spend their waiting hours walking by the beach, watching porn, listening to songs on the radio, etc. They also have to contend with ‘someone’ seemingly watching them. Eventually, Julian’s only option for survival is to cope with reality or lose his sanity.”
Fajardo’s “Posas” is about Jess, a snatcher (played by Nico Antonio) who’s caught and undergoes investigation. “As the process proceeds from the barangay hall, police station to fiscal’s office, we witness human rights violations and the country’s endemic culture of corruption at work.”
Most “experimental” of all is Raymond Red’s “Kamera Obscura,” a film within a film, “the narrative of which plays with the idea of a retro-futurist world where a prisoner sees the world outside only through a small hole that projects an image of the city on the wall of his cell.”
—Catch all five films at Cinemalaya 2012 later this month, why don’t you?
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