Archive for the short films Category

Cinemalaya shorts 2008 (short films)

Posted in Cinemalaya, film students, indie films, Philippine Cinema, short films on August 12, 2008 by leaflens

[FROM MY OLD MULTIPLY SITE]

originally posted at leaflens.blogspot.com
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respite from work and escape from crazy women/crazy men at work (and there are a lot lately, i tell you) — cine chichirya.

shorts muna. cinemalaya shorts, that is.

mabilis lang to. sobra. meryenda level.

CINEMALAYA SHORT FILMS 2008

ANDONG
d. Rommel “Milo” Tolentino

pitch: a scavenger boy, obsessed with buying a raffle ticket that could win him a tv set, does all things possible to achieve this simple yet touching goal

catch: editing needs a bit of polishing

i loved this one! never mind that non-professional actors were acting (somewhat) in this film. it appeared a bit natural nga e, parang docu style, lalo na yung nanay na nakukulitan sa anak niyang pabili ng pabili ng tv, at ng tiket para manalo ng tv sa raffle. classic! neorealism at its finest ito. siyempre natulungan ng magandang pulso for editing para lumabas ang story, at na-achieve naman. sobrang aliw ang treatment na magaan lang, walang paghuhusga, kahit na mahirap sila o ang sitwasyon, pinapakita lang as it is, unfolding lives, na walang filmmaker-from-the-upperclass-looking-down-on-filmed-subject-from-the-lowerclass mode, unlike previous cinemalaya shorts na nakita ko na sobra lang matapobre ang lenteng ginamit sa kamera. hay nakuh. pero si andong, deserve niya ang panalo niya. congrats sa inyo, nerissa!

ANG IBANG MGA PAMILYA (OTHER FAMILIES)
d. Joel P. Ruiz

pitch: sabi ng program “is about a woman who overcomes the grief of losing her adopted son”

catch: parang hindi nakita ang pitch na iyon

in UPFI, we have a subject called Film 175 Film and Literature where cross-disciplinary arts like cinema and literary works, particularly short stories and novels, are dissected and compared. siguro kelangang dumaan sa klaseng ito ang mga filmmakers kasi hinugot nila ang kuwento sa short story ni master literary storyteller jose “butch” dalisay, na if i am not mistaken, the title is “Some Families, Very Large.”

hands down, sir butch is a master of the craft of the filipino short story in english, and his writings usually picture and sketch very vivid scenes and emotions that weave into thought-provoking stories. the weaving and such really works well with words on paper. sadly… this kind of weaving still has to be translated into visuals and sound. laglag lang ati. sobrang laylay ang pelikulang ito, dahil hindi niya na-achieve and sentiment na binabato ng short story. it didn’t even have a life of its own, as what happens most times with film adaptations of literary works. but there’s an art to it, adaptation and translation. mukhang kulang pa. hindi tumawid.

ANGAN-ANGAN (DREAMS)
d. Sheron R. Dayoc

pitch: sabi sa program “centers on a mute nine-year-old girl named Satra, whose determination to secure a good education reverberates clearly amid the strictness of her Yakan culture. The Yakan are one of the 13 Moro groups in the Philippines. They mainly reside in Basilan, Mindanao.”

catch: filmed with an audience in mind? hm.

ambivalent ako sa film na ito. it kinda appeared good to me in the beginning, kasi appreciate ko sobra ang films na nagpapakita ng iba’t ibang kultura ng pagiging pilipino, hindi lang yung “modern” (read: american-influenced) culture natin ek. okay sana. pero nalabuan lang ako sa kuwento. maganda sana yung issues na ipinapasok dito, namely the right of the child to an education, and the gender roles handed down to us by tradition ek. kaya lang parang hilaw pa rin sa luto, kaya yung deliver parang di masyadong satisfying. it was also obvious that the filmmakers were in love so much with their “artsy” shots, and that usually kills the story. a film should have a balance of how a story will unfold utilizing the visuals. medyo kulang pa ito ng ganun. nag-take off siya, pero hindi lang lumipad ng husto.

hani, trabaho lang ha, walang personalan hehe 🙂 congrats nonetheless sa inyo diyan sa zambales! make more films like these! hey, where’s my tubbao? hehe 😛

DIAMANTE SA LANGIT (DIAMOND IN THE SKY)
d. Vic Acedillo, Jr

pitch: sabi sa program “is about two brothers’ journey to compete in a kite flying contest. But getting there takes some time. In the end, they face something unexpected and discover something more precious than winning.”

catch: gano’n???? yun yun???

sa totoo lang, lost ako sa pelikulang ito. isang tumataginting na “hanubayunnnnnn” ang reaksyon ko when i watched this. may konsepto, walang kuwento. delikado. argh. for that, yun na ang review! bakit pasok to???

*tumbling*

ONLY GOD KNOWS
d. Mark V. Reyes

pitch: sabi sa program “focuses on the disturbing and gut wrenching tale about the realities of life in the sprawling metropolis of Manila.”

catch: miscast ang cast sa urban poor setting

di marunong gumawa ng synopsis ang gumawa nito. it’s more than that. it’s about this nanay who has to face her demons and moral decisions of giving her son for adoption, out of extreme poverty, only to have that son sold to white slavery. and to a pedophile at that. harshness!

hambigaaaaat! di ba? pero effective siya. not new, typical story, sampu sampera na ang mga giving-up-or-selling-your-child-for-money chorva storylines sa philippine cinema (or asian cinema/third world cinema for that matter), pero this one, nadala ng good acting, thoughtful directing, at good-paced editing. never mind the shots. minsan may hindi kering anggulo pero sige lang. nadala ng aktres.

si angel aquino nga pala ang aktres. bothered lang ako kasi for an urban poor nanay, ang ganda ng highlights work sa hair niya, na halatang pina-parlor (sobrang shiny lang, ate). and of course her complexion, although minsan puwedeng lumusot ito na makinis ang mga nakatira sa slums ek (dahil may ganun namang mga tao talaga). o sige, half-keri. pero yung anak niya kasi, halatang slight malusog at alagang-alaga, kaya hindi believable na naghihirap sila at kelangan siyang ibenta. ayun lang naman ang beef ko. other than that, okay ang film na ito. the build-up of the anticipation, na alam mo nang gagawin niya, tapos yung pag-aagaw ng emosyon nung nanay na kineri ng akting ni angel, bet! winner ito. bigat lang, pero winner.

HULING BIKTIMA (THE LAST VICTIM)
d. Vitaliano A. Rave

pitch: sabi sa program “is a film noir style about a detective’s last minutes.”

catch: so ano’ng bago?

siguro ang bago e ang filmmakers ay enamored sa medium ng graphic novel, because it was obvious that they were making it appear like the visuals were straight out of graphic novels, lalo na’t may pa-thank you sa isang graphic novel author sa credits na inspirasyon nila i’m sure (frank miller ‘ata). kaya lang, kapag tinanggal mo ang graphic novel look and all, ano’ng matitira? walang kuwento ito, talagang gusto lang niyang magpakitang gilas na may alam sila sa cool, slick videography and editing. sadly, hindi kineri ng set, costumes (lalo na si detective na mukhang manong na naka-amerikana — sa dark alleyways of dirty manila? wengk.) at ng boses ng detective (na hindi siya sounding detective! kulang sa bass). hm. sana lang maging mas orihinal pa ang filmmakers, meaning make this material closer to pinoy culture, para hindi siya mukhang american ripoff (which is what it is, actually). sayang ang slick equipment if it won’t be put into good use.

MY PET
d. Anna G. Bigornia

pitch: sabi sa program “is a 7-minute animation about an 8-year-old girl and her relationship with her first pet, a chick, the subject of a class experiment.”

catch: sana may light ang faces ng characters

other than that, keri ko ito. maganda na hindi talkie, and for an animation work, oks lagi iyon. maganda ang music, ang tema, cute ang animation work, pero bakit madilim ang fez? hm. masyado lang mahaba, feeling ko, for the kind of story it was trying to tell. sana mas pinaiklian pa para poignant, short and sweet. pero bet ko ang animation style. parang slight eastern european ang feel, pero pinoy ang textures. winner!

PANGGARIS
d. Dexter B. Cayanes

pitch: sabi sa program “is about a prostitute whose life changed when her mute sibling learned to talk, uttering only the word “panggaris.”

catch: kulang sa kwento

sa totoo lang, di ko na talaga halos maalala itong short na to. i guess ganon siya tumatak (o hindi) sa akin. i just remember being unhappy in watching it. sorry alam ko hindi fair itong ganitong review pero i guess my reaction also speaks for the quality it has (or the absence of it).

TRAILS OF WATER
d. Sheron R. Dayoc

pitch: sabi sa program “is an experimental film about a young boy’s emotion as seen through his make-believe story.”

catch: kulang sa kuwento

di ko alam kung dahil sa huli-huli na ito at di ko masyadong keri ang kuwento, pero hindi ko na siya sobrang matandaan ang detalye. i guess ganoon din siya tumatak (o hindi) sa akin. noble and good intentions cited, at okay iyon. pero the art and craft of storytelling through film, kulang pa rin. could be improved. may promise naman e.

TUTOS (COST)
d. L.A. Yamsuan

pitch: sabi sa program “tells about the dynamics and complexities of a single father-daughter relationship in a postmodern patriarchal Filipino society.”

catch: nachorva ko na ito bilang isa siya sa thesis ng nakaraang taon, at isa pa sa best thesis

the story is actually good. biases aside siyempre. i like the sensitivity of the camera handling and the editing, may pacing, at very mature ito. i also like the super subtle (call me overreading) na ang kuwento ay tungkol sa isang babae na puwedeng may leaning towards liking another babae. super subtle message, partly hidden, pero quite a bit obvious sa portrayal and acting. sinadya man o hindi, okay lang. ayun. basta. okay to. congrats, LA!

*

o sya, my break is over. discuss.

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cinemaliit: a review of the cinemalaya shorties

Posted in Cinemalaya, digital film, indie films, Philippine Cinema, short films on July 8, 2007 by leaflens

[FROM MY OLD MULTIPLY SITE]

NOTE: AN OLD REVIEW, JUST CROSS-POLLINATING HERE FOR NEW GROWTH SPURTS (august 2006)



this is the second year that cinemalaya held its grant competition for aspiring filmmakers to do their digital films. there is a short film division and that’s what we’ll look at this time. so here goes. in no particular order.

10:25 NG GABI

pitch: a matapobre balikbayan donya goes with her semi-konyo son to visit his not-so-high society-qualified girlfriend residing in a part-suburb/part-urban poor area of, we assume, metro manila. tragedy strikes. enter melodramatic musical score.

catch: my friend kris lacaba plays the semi-konyo son

this film is directed by reggie gulle.  not sure if this is his directorial debut but i think it is okay. not great, but okay. the story is slow-paced and the storytelling is super slow-paced. i don’t know if i like it or hate it. it’s that kind of film. why? well, the story doesn’t tell me much of anything that’s new. what’s new with a mom who disapproves of her son’s “ineligible” jowa? and by ineligible, we mean societal class standards, not to mention the girl already has a child, even if the child is her son’s own child din. or something like that. at least that’s how i remember it. pardon me because it has been a month since i saw this film and well, as you can see, it’s not very memorable to me.

the film ran parallel storylines and the other one is this lowly former trike driver’s attempt to make some money. he goes with his kriminal pal and they try to do somethng evil. the two storylines collide when the kriminal pal eyes the konyo mom and son and victimize them. tragedy strikes – the mom dies of a fatal knife stab wound and so does the kriminal pal. hay ewan. until this part, i am not so sure what this film wants to tell the audience. tragedy can strike at any hour of the day (hence the title)? that matapobre matrons get their fair share of karmic retribution? i dunno. i am as lost as michelle rodriguez on a deserted uncharted island full of people who look like they just came from the gym.

if my friend’s mom didn’t text me to inform me of her son’s cinemalaya exposures this year, i won’t really sit around and finish this film. yea, it’s lyk dat, u kno.

 

GEEGEE AT WATERINA

pitch: cinematic version of theatrical version of perhaps a re-imagined/re-interpretation of conversations based on real-life old gay people justo justo and walter markova

catch: nice production design and acting by lou veloso and the dude who protrayed the other character

directed by dennis teodoso, this guy who is from PETA and was also briefly my co-CDGmate in the abs-cbs soaps some years back. well, the material is really good but it should have remained as a theatrical piece.  it didn’t really fly as a cinematic piece, perhaps because of the very static approach to the blocking and the staging of scenes. i’m not sure if that’s what the director intended to do, but if it was, then it was successful. but for me, i don’t want to watch a filmed play. i’d rather watch films on the cinema  or plays on the stage. like what a good bartender will say, never mix your drinks because you’ll end up wafungish. which i did. kaya ayun. no harm in intertextuality chenes and all that postmodern stuff, but please do it more creatively siguro next time. okay? in short, be a master of both forms and then mix them up. that might produce a more dynamic and moving work.

 

KWARTO

pitch:
ordinary guy hangs out with ordinary guy friend who brings along two ordinary girl friends and they pair up heterosexually in ordinary guy’s mess of a room where they hold an impromptu drinking session until girls get fed up with the macho advances and the two ordinary guys turn on each other to hopefully release their horny ambitions

catch: i like angeli bayani wherever she appears so that makes this watchable

yea but other than that catch, this umpire says “strike one you’re out!” first, i don’t see the point of this film. i think it was such a fruitless exercise. after each film, you ask yourself, especially if it’s a narrative, “what’s the point of all this?” and if the answer is as vague as a mudsplatter on your windshield, forget it. it probably did not have any point to begin with. but this is a very good example of how digital filmmaking is now within the reach of every tom, dick and harry who can afford to buy/rent a camera and editing equipment. so this film was made by either a tom, a dick or a harry. c’est tout. i hope one of them enrolls in a scriptwriting seminar soon to learn the nuances of proper film storytelling.

 

LABADA

pitch: laundrywoman’s nice life gets marred by suspicions of his trike driver husband having an affair

catch:
nice…camera?

sorry but i can’t seem to find a good narrative in this shortie, too. the piece is kinda  well-acted, okay, given that the actors are non-pro and the look of the film is okay. other than that, the narrative is not so strong and it doesn’t really stand enough for my attention to get hooked. in fact, the slow pace really dragged so i found this rather cumbersome to watch. never mind the gay twist (laundrywoman’s male employer is her husband’s lover pala). any gay pitch won’t make me see this film twice. there’s no real story to chew on.
PUTOT

pitch: young boy survives hardships in the bay/pier slums with her mentally ill father, meets a young girl from the area and forms a friendship until everything is ruined by government demolitions of the slums

catch: very good cinematography, they make living in the slums appear glossy

nothing much to chew on here, also. the film looks like a romanticized vision of slum life. sure, kids there have innocence but not as innocent as this boy protagonist. we don’t see traces of bitterness and hardships in him or his characterization (perhaps the folly of the director-actor [non]relationship). given this age and this kind of life, you’d already expect that this boy would be a bit tougher. but he gets easily intimidated by average drunkards who steal his catch of the day. so he develops a friendship with this girl who looks like a victim of some unnamed abuse or other. whatever. and then the (seeming) climax of the film is the demolition of the slums and the disappearance of the mentally ill father in the process. and then the film ends with the boy and the girl riding a banca sailing away from the pier slum area.

okay, what gives? loopholes galore. i know in a story, you have to unfold the motivations and purposes of your character for your film to have logic. if you don’t, then all you have is a glossy romanticized version of a reality foreign to you. and this is what this film has. sorry but nothing really interesting to chew on here, either.

 

NO PASSPORT NEEDED

pitch: escaping small-time criminal seeks the help of an illegal recruiter to fly out of the country only to fly out in a way he did not expect — as filling of a box full of longganisa where he is the main ingredient

catch: er, one of the filmmakers just shifted to the upfi film program?

perhaps that will give him more time to digest new things when he eventually learns about narrative storytelling and proper plotting.  the film is quirky but you don’t know if it is intended or not. the choice of musical score dictates the quirkiness along with the handheld style of shooting. but the story doesn’t dictate it. so you’re not sure if it wants to be a dark comedy or a parody or a social statement or what. to use kuya bodjie pa as an actor gives it another dimension of uncertainty, as he delivers a good and serious performance but the people around him don’t. so again, this is quite lost. perhaps it’s just in the bermuda triangle of the film world but it has hopes of getting better. in due time, that is.  a for ayfort siguro.

 

ORASYON

pitch: seemingly lonely lola gets devilish visions and premonitions so she uses religious fervor as her defensive armor…but is it effective?

catch:
good shots, kahit obvious na kinopya ang style sa REQUIEM FOR A DREAM

i don’t know what this film is trying to do, really. are you trying to scare the bejeezus out of us by presenting seemingly scary images of a devil-ba-yan? over and over and over and over again? are you trying to make us ponder philosophically about religion and its institutional trappings? are you trying to lecture us on our neglect of the elderly as we go about or own modern lives? are you trying to make a statement against catholicism or poking fun at its devout followers? i don’t know. again, i am as lost as michelle rodriguez on an island… oh sorry i mentioned that already. well by this time, michelle and i must be hidden away in a dark cave somewhere making passionate love to each other! that’s more enjoyable than sitting in the cinema enduring 20 or so minutes of this filmic uncertainty! sa totoo lang!

 

PARANG PELIKULA

pitch: a man remembers his life with his childhood friend as they grew up fans of the great action hero fernando poe jr and how they sold little stuff to have funds to watch his films chenes

catch: good production design of the flashback scenes

parang wala rin akong nakuha sa pelikulang ito. i don’t know what it’s trying to say, really. just when you think you are about to get something — a statement about friendship and eventual betrayal, an homage to an undermined local actor, an undertone of political commentary  — it pulls back to reveal…nothing. in the end, you’ll end up wondering what it was about. and that’s where the trouble begins. the film is not so sure what it is about. sure, you can make lines and lines of words to describe its synopsis but give me a one liner taht states what this film is about. i’m sure it can’t live up to that challenge. sorry na lang.

 

PUWANG

pitch: siblings try to cope with the sorry state of their dying dad

catch:
good actors, somewhat

yet another undecided and vague film. it tries to focus on things that you’re not sure are worth focusing in the first place. does it want redemption for the wayward son? does it want sympathy for the dying dad? does it want empathy for the daughters with not-so-perfect lives? the film can’t decide what it wants with its characters so the audience can’t decide what to feel about them, too. well, perhaps except for one thing — we all feel so detached from the characters and material. maybe the handling needs to be better next time. this has potential but the handling foiled it. it has to decide what it wants to present so we as audience can decide what to feel about it. gets?

 

SA SILAW

pitch: a woman, a bus preacher by day who moonlights as street hooker by night, is a product of a sexually abusive home and acts weird about it by flashing a flashlight directly onto her face

catch: passable editing, sometimes

filmmakers seem to be enamored by the lives of people who are alien to them: religious preachers who speak on buses, prostitutes/sex workers on the streets, abused women, etc. but being enamored of these seemingly intricate lives of these people will only be interesting once they show something new about the situations. sadly, this film did not show anything new, just rehashed versions of trite things in the filipino’s daily lives. so why make a film about it in the first place? that’s what i’d like to know.  if they junk research and good storytelling, chances are, they’ll get vague sketches of lives. that’s what this film has. sayang.

 

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