And just like that, the holiday spectacle that was the annual Metro Manila Film Festival is over. Awards have been bestowed and official box office grosses are better. People are bullish that Filipino films are back to bring the crowds inside the cinemas.
Audiences flock to their favorite fares despite the steep cost of tickets. Yes, the cinema-watching peeps proved that they support locally-made motion pictures if they want to.
What are the more prominent indicators of this past film festival? Nadine Lustre is a certified superstar is a fact. With her Mikhail Red directed movie topping the box-office race and bringing home most MMFF trophies, Lustre was the Queen.
Was Deleter a superlative film? It was a case of you loved it like it was the best horror movie this season or you hate it to bits because it had a mediocre narrative and the “hello darkness my old friend overall movie” look was yawn-inducing and not spooky.
Vice Ganda’s box office hold and reign did not last long. This is the second year that the Unkabogable Star became Kabogable, a truth not easy to accept. Also, Ivana Alawi, Viceral’s co-star who happens to have astronomical digits in terms of followers and subscribers on her YouTube, obviously wasn’t able to translate her online prowess into making Partners in Crime the pelicula numero uno.
The Vice Ganda clique downplayed the disappointing box office outcome of his latest starter. This is a clear indicator that the star power of the comedian is fast diminishing and the comfortable templates he used to employ are no longer bringing results.
People want to be jolted and Nanahimik Ang Gabi provided that plus camera angles to die for, cinematography that screamed menacing, and conflicts that are boiling and rising. Add the superb acting from the best actor Ian Veneracion and best supporting actor Mon Confiado, this suspense thriller had winner written all over the motion picture. Also, saying that Heaven Peralejo was robbed of her best actress trophy is an understatement.
This movie showed that suspense thriller as a genre offers scarier and heart-pounding moments. And artists giving life to characters that are not their usual personas, bring not only trophies but admiration and respect from the audiences.
Loving the craft and infusing it with passion, truthfulness, and vulnerability, are what Veneracion, Confiado, and Peralejo presented in their movie.
The people’s best picture Family Matters proved that though awards are like icing on one’s cake, the proof of its deliciousness is still on the eating, and in this case, the viewing.
People loved the family drama and no amount of awards night snub can change the reality that of all the films in competition, Family Matters was the only one that was artistically excellent, a truthful depiction of a modern-day Pinoy family, and what you see on the silver screen did not alienate, polarize, and was authentic and organic in its presentation of contemporary Filipino families.
What sells always is a well-directed movie with a well-written script and actors who gave all their characters the emotional truths. Family Matters indicates that we are ready for hones to goodness drama that pulls the heartstrings and highlights the importance and relevance of families.
The MMFF films also showed why Dimples Romana and Jake Cuenca are two of the better actors in local showbiz these days. Seasoned thespians like Noel Trinidad and Liza Lorena are forever delightful to watch and must be treated with a lot of love and respect.
In this year’s edition of MMFF, hope springs eternal because of youngbloods like Sean de Guzman, Tiffany Grey, and Ian Pangilinan, yes youth is not wasted on them because they are a talented lot.
Another observation is, cinema folks seemed to have avoided historical and political dramas this season. Bone one thing’s for sure, they forked out money from their pockets to spend on movies they like. And I hope this would continue from now on.