Cinema One Originals Dispatches: Day 1

Ang Paglalakbay ng mga Bituin sa Gabing Madilim shows evidence of director Arnel Mardoquio’s theater background (some blockings feel a bit too rehearsed and wide shots often look tableau-y) but the story’s originality trumps the film’s technical misgivings. Sure, there are still bits of preachiness here and there (the military and religion are targets) but for the most part you don’t feel being lectured to, thanks in large part to Mardoquio’s call to make the film as quiet as possible. B+

Baybayin is too studied, too affected for its own good. Even though I liked Busong, I felt then that it was teetering towards exoticism. Baybayin doesn’t just teeter, it dives into exotica with no apologies. C

Slumber Party is a fun ride that peters out towards the end. Still, the middle part is uproarious and Archie Alemania is a riot. B

Mater Dolorosa is thematically Shakespearean, a chilling portrait of a middle-class family whose members are forced to reckon with the fact that their world is getting smaller as a corrupt state is slowly closing in on them. Bravura ensemble work. A


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