Colossal hits you so hard in the gut that you’ll leave the cinema staggering, cursing director Whammy Alcazaren for being so young and so fucking talented. He harnesses the power of cinematic language to tell a mythic story of grief and grace. The film shows striking transcendent images of nature (the city, the sea, the woods, the cosmos, etc.) but the filmmaker expertly marries these images with Cebuano philosophical prose poetry that begs to be published as a stand-alone screenplay.
Lav Diaz (who briefly appears as a mysterious shaman) is an obvious influence, and one scene (the shaman whispering to the young man) can be construed as Diaz passing on his filmic wisdom to Alcazaren, but I also saw shades of Malick, Marker, and Gozum in there. Expect great things from this guy. A+
Teng Mangansakan’s Obscured Histories and Silent Longings of Daguluan’s Children is a great example of an ethnic film that doesn’t exoticize. In telling several sub-plots and following several characters, the film feels more like a community ethnography, Mangansakan documenting the minutiae of rural life from a detached perspective, and that, ultimately, is its weakness: you don’t feel invested in any single character. B+
Gym Lumbera’s Taglish works more as a formal experiment than as social commentary. C
From Cinema One Originals:
In Ian Loreños’ Alagwa, Jericho Rosales brings his A-game in this gripping heartbreaker of a thriller. B+
From Sineng Pambansa:
Sigfreid Barros-Sanchez’s Huling Biyahe‘s championing of the often unheralded film technicians is a noble cause but the film is just too simple-minded for my taste. C-