Cinemalaya Dispatches: Day 4

Diablo (Mes de Guzman)
Mesmerizingly strange and steeped in the rural milieu, this for me was creepier than most horror movies out there. It’s just that I don’t think my patience with its slow pace was rewarded in the end. I wanted it to involve me a little more, but perhaps Mes de Guzman delights in frustrating viewers who need even just a smidgen of emotional connection to his characters.

Posas  (Lawrence Fajardo)
An engaging police procedural that refreshingly avoids black and white portrayals of police officers. Sure, some scenes get a tad heavy-handed (that last shot, for instance, was totally unnecessary) but the film shows how police brutality, bureaucracy, and inefficiency are deeply entrenched without painting the pawns (i.e., cops) as totally evil: they can actually also be (gasp!) endearing human beings. I just wished the script pushed their humanity some more by adding scenes that depict them as family members or friends. But overall, this is another solid effort by Lawrence Fajardo, with excellent performances by the whole cast.

REquieme!  (Loy Arcenas)
Political satires are tricky to pull off: the line between biting comedy and didacticism has to be tread very gingerly. REquieme! succeeds because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It taps into the Pinoy penchant for making light of life’s problems and shows that burying the dead Pinoy-style is both an immensely taxing (financially, emotionally, and otherwise) experience as well as a ritual necessary for personal catharsis. Rody Vera gets the pulse of the Pinoy masa just right, his script improving on Gina Apostol’s short story just by making the characters speak in everyday colloquial Tagalog. Shamaine Buencamino is terrific as usual but the real heart of the film is Anthony Falcon’s performance as Joanna. Tama si Loy Arcenas sa speech niya: “Watch out for this guy.”

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