Ten films by eleven veteran directors showcased under one film festival — all supplied with teasers promising a worthwhile two hours; offered at a below average price. Sounds like a good deal, yes?
But unfortunately, I wasn’t able to watch everything I like due to time constraints. I hope they could extend the screening, though. Or perhaps have a theatrical release!
Today is the last day of screening of this year’s Sineng Pambansa, a National Film Festival sponsored by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and I was able to watch two entries: the controversial gay film Lihis and the subtle heartwarming story of a nanny in Ano Ang Kulay Ng Mga Nakalimutang Pangarap?
Each directors were asked by FDCP to produce a film showcasing their home province and the result: ten films about the Philippines by veteran Filipino filmmakers such as Maryo J. delos Reyes (Magnifico), Chito Roño (Bata, Bata Paano Ka Ginawa), Peque Gallaga (Jose Rizal), Mel Chionglo (Burlesk King), and Lore Reyes (Batang X), to name a few.
More than the intimate facade and shock value that Lihis have showcased in the trailers, the film deserves acknowledgment for successfully depicting the terror, frustration, and struggle of two New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who fight for their nationalistic beliefs and forbidden love.
Set in the time wherein society, particularly the movement the main characters belong to, was lead by macho men that aims national freedom and not gender liberation, Lihis offers a sneak peek of how a relationship between Ka-Felix (Jake Cuenca), an aggressive lover and Ka-Domeng, (Joem Bascon) a repressed romantic, can be unstable and downright frustrating.
Time has evolved and despite many things have changed, some still remain the same, which in essence was both a good and bad thing if I were to describe the film using it.
I am disappointed with how the way the film ran through its last few minutes with a melodramatic tone, as if not knowing how to end it to the point that it becomes dragging and funny, the audience in the theater end up laughing at what should be a heartwarming loss of the lead actors last breaths. It’s a fight scene with ammunitions being thrown here and there and still, they were able to inject a sappy drama in between, which I don’t really mind, except that it was overly executed just to show emphasis on their undying love for each other.
Another notable thing was the failure of executing the true age difference of some characters. The remaining witness to a massacre was still a boy when the event happened but when he was found after decades of searching, his age was just about the same level as that of Ka-Felix’s mom who simply dyed her hair to emphasize aging. If the main cast have aged and look entirely different due to an older actor portraying them, then maybe even the characters with least exposure deserves actual age representation, too, especially if his character is essential in answering a question such as how long has it been since…? But then again, these are just some minor concerns that any movie-goer would notice and every production team should be extra careful, next time.
“Tama ka nga naman… Luma na… Aanhin pa nga niyo iyon?“
It’s probably the scenes wherein no dialogues were spoken despite the surging emotions of betrayal, loneliness, and grief. Or quite possibly, the stillness of the camera panning, with little to none musical scoring, the heated discussions among family members, and the natural portrayal of an old lady wanting nothing but to serve the family she’s been with for six decades.
It must be the nostalgic aura. The longing. And the question director Jose Javier Reyes poses to the audience all throughout the film: what do we do with things the moment they become old, useless, and have lost their essence?
The ensemble consisting of Ryan Agoncillo, Jackie Lou Blanco, Bobby Andrews, Alwyn Uytingco, Kim Rodriguez, and of course Rustica Carpio carefully dissects the Filipino family ties and delivers an honest reality faced by many families adapting in the changes of time.
The final frame of the film ended in a sleek Jose Javier Reyes fashion –one with no definite closure and will leave you thinking of what you would do if you were on the character’s shoes. It was gracefully executed that I couldn’t think of a better way to end it. The film made me appreciate what I have right now and made me feel wistful about the things I couldn’t have again.
Sigh. I missed my nanny who took care of me when I was still a kid. I wonder where she is now.