Monday, August 5, 2013

CINESTHESIA: Submerging Into The World of Indie PART 1 REVIEW

After a week of films, personalities, attitudes and budding feelings, I would say that my second year indulging myself to Cinemalaya Independent Films was worth it.

Credits to Starmometer

I never would have thought that I would obsess over the Philippine indie scene after seeing Thelma, directed by Paul Soriano, last year. From then on, I invested my time on independent movies and checking out directors as well as scriptwriters. And to fully submerge myself into the world of these unconventional thinkers, I needed to go back to the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) to watch films that I felt at that time would give me jitters and cause mind blowing-ness. (if that is even a word. Maybe not.)

And from July 28-29 and August 3-4, I truly was blown away by the captivating stories presented this year. And though I haven't necessarily said my individual assessments on the films, the whole experience was endearing and worth-while.

Now with my individual assessments, I wouldn't be sugar-coating things though I did say the stories were captivating. Just you know, read. You'll understand. HAHA!

I've seen only 10 films: 7 from the New Breed Category Full Length features and 3 from the Directors' Showcase Category. Unfortunately, I didn't get tickets for the shorts because of the shortage of tickets and seats.

Let's start the review:

REKORDER by Mikhael Red

Credits to Starmometer

It was the first film I saw going inside the Nicanor Abelardo Theater. One thing that struck me while watching this film was its intensity despite the quiet demeanor and mystery cloaking the protagonist Maven, played by actor Ronnie Quizon.

The movie showed different angles of the media corruption in the country and the social apathy exhibited by people. It never gave you a moment of predictability. Dream sequences were done through Maven's recollection of his memories, specifically of his family. Though the story is not as complicated or complex as I thought it would be, it definitely delivered with the production design. I actually love Maven's room! It's so artsy yet disturbing at the same time. 

The cast delivered their characters well, giving off comedic vibes to take off the tension the film introduced from the very beginning allowing some sort of balance. And KUDOS to Ronnie Quizon for bringing out this character that I truly empathized with...

And KUDOS to Mikhael Red for his stellar directing and story. He should truly pursue making more and more films and experiment further with greater stories in the society.

RATING: 4/5 (Cool Beans)


It was fun seeing this film. More than the fact that I was sitting like 2 rows ahead of Eugene Domingo herself, the story was basically meant to be hilarious. I dunno if it's just me, coz I love to laugh or if truly the story was really effective to be comedic. Surely I would attest to that since the Nicanor Abelardo Theater crowd were laughing their asses off. 

Eugene Domingo truly made the film what it is; a woman who is overworked, pregnant, got a miscarriage and manipulates her pregnancy to save her relationship with her Japanese boyfriend. The whole cast truly did a wonderful job, although I have to say I wish Luis Alandy had more screen time than I expected he would. 

As for Leo Abaya, he may be a production designer, but he delivered in terms of writing the script and directing the movie, considering it is his debut. It makes me hopeful somehow.

All in all, the film was fun and full of good laughs. In terms of being indie, maybe it would pass but I feel that it would appeal to the usual commercial and mainstream audience who now find comedy the recent fad in movies.

RATING: 3/5 (Go with the flow, dude)

PUROK 7 by Carlo Obispo

Credits to

Heading out to Tanghalang Huseng Batute was dreading. I never liked seats without backs to lean on and I ended up with these kinds of seats. It was uncomfortable and cold and I didn't have anyone to talk to, making the wait much difficult. But when the movie started, I felt so much better.

Purok 7 is the type of movie you see when you want to feel good about your day. Krystle Valentino, who played 14 year old Diana and Miggs Cuaderno who played Diana's younger brother, rounded up the fun and heart warming film. Though conflict within the plot is evident, in the form of Arnold Reyes, their father and their Mother, facing execution in a foreign country, both siblings make everyday light and carefree. And with cutie Julian Trono playing Diana's love interest, the impact on the audience is right on target.

The screenplay is not complex, which is perfect. No tangled webs and questions left within scenes. It is plain and simple which is like a breath of fresh air from the heavy stories in most of the New Breed Category Full Length.

Carlo Obispo truly has made a mark with the audience by showing off his great script as well as his directing chops. In terms of audio, it's good but if I say so myself, being an observant hawk, I can tell that there are lapses in the dubbing. But who cares? As long as people enjoyed the film.

RATING: 4/5 (Sweetums)

DEBOSYON by Alvin Yapan

Credits to My Movie World

This was one of the films that I think I've lined up for, faster than you can say the longest word on the face of the Earth. The only mistake though is that I missed having a picture with a scriptwriter for a short film who I look up to greatly and have developed a crush on. I just watched him pass by. Stupid me. Anyway, sorry for the pity party. 

Faith was truly substantial in Debosyon as it is depicted through Paulo Avelino's character, Mando who has this devotion to Our Lady of Penafrancia and his love turned faith towards Saling played by Mara Lopez.

You truly have to have the right amount of patience to get through the film since dialogues usually just happen between Mando and Saling and they don't see each other often. By the start of the film, you would just hear the chirping and birds and the sound of wild monkeys every where. 

The movie relies on visual effects seeing that Saling is a cursed witch in a form of a half snake. Graphics-wise, it was good enough although you could still tell that those fireballs are fake and all. Dream sequences were also essential to the film since it links Mando to Saling.

Intimacy was never a question from the start of the film but I would've expected more than just kissing passionately. 

Alvin Yapan has definitely showcased his directing prowess once again. But if I'm being honest, his previous film, Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa, made much more of an impact towards me. But I would give praise to him for his extensive research as well as his bold choice to include computer graphics which I do not see common in independent films, which I guess is another step to unconventionality of indie films, or maybe the other way around.

RATING: 3/5 (You hit precisely, not accurately)

That is it for the first 4 movies. I'll talk about the other six on my next post. I hope you like this movie review. You may leave your comments below. 

Follow me on Twitter: @jayvwrites27

Thanks for checking out my blog. CHEERIO!

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