‘Hamog’ and ‘Honor Thy Father’ land in the New York Times
Two Filipino films have landed in the New York Times.
In Mike Hale’s June 21 article on the 15th New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF), ongoing until July 9, Southeast Asian cinema was prominently featured—with Ralston Jover’s “Hamog” and Erik Matti’s “Honor Thy Father” meriting special mention.
In the report, Samuel Jamier, a festival organizer, remarked that Southeast Asian cinema was “underrepresented” in the past. “It was time for us to remedy this.”
Although Southeast Asian movies may have “lower budgets…and rough edges” compared to the more mature industries in Japan, China and South Korea, there is “an immediacy—a raw vitality in storytelling” in the films from this previously overlooked region. “There’s a different energy…a vibe…an innocence that’s specific to these films,” said Jamier.
“Hamog,” Hale wrote, exemplified this “Southeast Asian film energy.” He then likened this Cinema One winner to Hector Babenco’s “Pixote.” He described “Hamog,” thus: “Alternately tragic, bittersweet and frightening.”
A tale of street kids surviving the mean streets of Manila, “Hamog,” Hale asserted, “builds considerable power, despite its narrative stumbles.”
Still, the film “never bores…
the awkwardness and occasional purple streak in (Jover’s) screenplay are more than made up for by the zest of his direction, Pipo Domagas’ fluid cinematography and gripping performances from…
child actors, Bon Lentejas and Therese Malvar.”
“Hamog” is the annual event’s centerpiece presentation and will be screened on July 1—the same day Malvar will receive the Screen International’s Rising Star award from the fest. “Hamog” recently won the Outstanding Artistic Achievement award at the 19th Shanghai International Film Festival, as well.
For its part, “Honor Thy Father” “shares…a sense of moral outrage” with the other films from Southeast Asia, Hale noted.
Jamier related that many film entries this year offer the same bleak message: “A realization that something’s not right with the world.”
“Honor” lead star John Lloyd Cruz will attend the screening on July 2. The newly minted Gawad Urian best actor (for “Honor”) will receive the Star Asia award from the NYAFF that same day, too.
Mario Cornejo’s “Apocalypse Child” was likewise shown at the NYAFF on June 24—with cast members Sid Lucero and Annicka Dolonius gracing the event.