Cinemalaya Dispatches: Day 2

Overall, my Day 2 at Cinemalaya was a good day!

Ang Katiwala (Aloy Adlawan)

“Has a really intriguing premise but is hobbled by a weak script that doesn’t know where it wants to go. I admire its effort to explore part of our nation’s history through the life of an important political figure, and how that figure inspires an ordinary working man. I wish it built on that connection further. Instead, the film shifts into another direction as if Aloy Adlawan is saying, ‘Hey, I am also an expert in suspense films so let us incorporate that into the movie!'”

Kalayaan (Adolfo Alix, Jr.)

This is, without a doubt, Albert Banzon’s best work to date. It is as much his film as it is Adolf Alix’s. Viewers will remember the film’s striking imagery more than they would the story. More than the postcard-ready images, though, Alix cooks up a beautiful dark twisted fantastical tale of a man’s descent to madness amidst an island paradise.

Sta. Niña (Manny Palo)

Unabashedly sentimental but expertly executed. Manny Palo and Liza Magtoto come up with a worthy back story to the Kapampangan crucifixion ritual, meanwhile showcasing Pampanga’s gorgeous lahar-covered landscape and its wood-carving industry.

Mga Dayo (Julius Sotomayor Cena)
A really refreshing film on lives of women OFWs in Guam. Julius Sotomayor Cena saw the need to portray Filipinos in diaspora and he succeeds not by explicitly commenting on the political side of the issue but by meticulously documenting a day in the life of 3 Pinays in various stages of distress. I particularly like Olga Natividad’s and Sue Prado’s stories, undoubtedly helped by their superb performances.

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