Film tackles heavy issues in a light wayBy Marinel R. Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Technical glitches stalled the gala screening of Loy Arcenas’ comedy “REquieme!” on Sunday night, but viewers at the Main Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines stayed and, in the end, gave the film a hearty applause.
“REquieme!” is competing in the New Breed category of the ongoing 8th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival.
“This film was shortlisted for Cinemalaya 2010 but we pulled it out because we were told that the shooting period I had allotted for it—one month—wasn’t enough,” Arcenas said in his opening speech. He said the film was fully completed only last week. “Tonight is the first time I’m seeing the finished product, with all of you.”
The film is about residents of a provincial village in the aftermath of a murder. Swanie, a barangay chair and a distant relative of the killer, woos voters by hosting a wake. In Manila, Swanie’s runaway gay son, Jose/Joanna, goes through a labyrinthine bureaucracy to give a neighbor a decent burial.
Award-winning actress Shamaine Centenera-Buencamino, who plays Swanie, observed that the film “tackles serious issues in a light manner.”
Asked to comment on the screening’s glitches, the actress said: “It was frustrating. In some parts, the sound should have further propelled viewers’ reactions. Fortunately, they still understood the story. I’d really like to see it in its entirety.”
Buencamino later said she got to do that at TriNoma Mall in Quezon City the following day.
She recounted Arcenas’ “very unique” directing style: “In ‘Niño’ (Arcenas’ award-winning debut feature film), we rehearsed in and out of our shooting locations. We discussed the characters and did rewrites based on those discussions. In this film, there were neither rewrites nor discussions. But since there were many characters, we did mostly reading for casting.”
Young theater actor Anthony Falcon, who played Jose/Joanna, said he gave his full trust to his director. “I had never trusted a director as much I trusted Sir Loy. His direction was more like a collaboration. As an actor, that was important to me—he gave me the opportunity to think for my character.”
Falcon, a freelance theater actor, said his role demanded a lot from him. “I grew my hair and nails, plucked my eyebrows and went through an extremely painful session of waxing.” He did a lot of research about transgenders, which entailed interviewing many of them at length.
“REquieme!” also features Rez Cortez, Paul Jake Paule, Antonette Garcia, Roli Inocencio, Garry Lim and Lou Veloso. It will be screened again in various Cinemalaya venues (CCP, Greenbelt and TriNoma) today till Sunday.
Recent Stories:Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.