‘Little Azkals’ wears its heart on its sleeve
Baby Ruth Villarama’s documentary, “Little Azkals,” which will be screened today (Nov. 8) at 2:30 p.m. and tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at TriNoma (as one of 10 competing entries at this year’s QCinema International Film Festival, until Nov. 11) follows the baby steps taken by the Philippine Football Federation to keep the country’s World Cup dream alive.
The PFF’s nationwide search commences the formidable task taken by the Little Azkals, made up of 22 under-11 homegrown boys culled from more than 1,000 aspirants, who are being trained for the 2019 World Cup qualifiers.
They’re expected to follow in the trailblazing footsteps of striker Phil Younghusband, Chieffy Caligdong and Azkals team captain Rob Gier—who are in the film to give them pointers and cheer them on. Their training takes them to a “dramedic” three-week stint in the United Kingdom, the birthplace of football, to train with sports-science experts.
Produced by Albert Almendralejo, Chuck Gutierrez and Clodualdo “Doy” del Mundo Jr., the heart-on-its-sleeve docu has a rough-around-the-edges start and is weighed down by listless camerawork, especially during the boys’ otherwise exciting matches against their European opponents.
Just like its little heroes, however, once the film finds its footing, it crackles with excitement and dynamic pertinence, which Villarama (“Jazz in Love”) captures with relentless tenacity —and tender, loving care!
QCinema’s other competing entries are: Carl Papa’s “Ang ‘Di Paglimot Ng Mga Alaala,” Neal Tan’s “Bigkis,” Barbara Politsch’s “Cemetery Life,” Christopher Ad Castillo’s “In Darkness We Live,” Real Florido’s “1st Ko Si 3rd,” Lem Lorca’s “Mauban,” M Bonifacio’s “Tigbao,” William Mayo, Edgardo Vinarao and Jose Carreon’s “Tres,” and Cha Escala and Wena Sanchez’s “Nick and Chai.”
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