This saddens me and other serious film lovers. Some theaters in Metro Manila and in the provinces wanting to cash in on the more popular titles had shortened the run of Ang Larawan. The Ayala Malls Cinemas, I believe, allowed it run only for a day (opening of the festival) and on the following day, the theaters that showed the film were already playing a different title.
This what I have been saying all along, that this annual Tagalog film festival and its organizer, don’t care about Philippine cinema, more so concerned about raising the levels of appreciation for films among the audiences.
Its annual mantra of “the more the viewers, the better for the local film industry” is morally acceptable, yet at its core is the desire to please the audience that wants to be entertained by films that are numbing and dumbing their sensibilities.
The selection committee of the MMFF should have out rightly rejected Ang Larawan, knowing fully well its fate in the festival.
Me heart goes out for Celeste Legaspi, Girlie Rodis, and director Loy Arcenas for this misfortune that has befallen Ang Larawan.
(I have written this piece the day before the awards night, so I am not sure if the jurors appreciated the film.)
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I am glad Deadma Walking is slugging it out with the more commercial titles in the festival. I watched this film during its premiere before the actual MMFF run and I was pretty entertained, not because it’s about two gay men, but more because it’s about friendship of two gay men, one is a portrait of a loud flamboyant gay our society calls bakla or binabae or the more contemporary vaklush and the other is a semi-closeted gay man known as pamin(ta) in the gay lingo or (in the 80s what is known as bulalo or bularet).
The pamin finds out he has just several months to live, thanks but no thanks to the Big C (cancer, mga ache!), so with his vaklush BFF, plans a fake wake so he’ll know how it feels be dead. (Bakla talagang mag-isip!)
The narrative is straight forward with brief flashbacks here and there to elucidate on some issues along the way. But it has a very clear narrative that is not shaped into a comedy but into a drama with lots of gay humor making it enjoyable to watch. No, it doesn’t make fun of the homosexual sub culture, but its reality makes the viewers understand deeper what goes on in the minds of these people.
Edgar Allan Guzman proves he is a major talent. He makes the audience watch him while anticipating his next line or move. Joross Gamboa’s melancholic demeanor (because his character is dying) is affective and provides an uncontaminated contrast to EA’s character. The result is a kind of relationship that is very distinctly real and not cinematic at all.
If you don’t know these two actors, you’d think they are in real life homosexuals or vaklush and paminta.
I applaud director Julius Alfonso and also Eric Cabahug for writing a screenplay that had me listening and laughing at the same time to every word spoken by the actors.
There are first-time films by directors-wannabe that you can throw right into the garbage bin, but Deadma Walking is one you’d love to watch again and again. Congratulations, Rex Tiri for producing one good movie for the festival!
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It’s just a few days before the MMFF closes (I think the official end of the festival is on June 2), and most of the films, except those that are doing good business, will be out of the theaters by then to give way to English-language and the more technically progressive made in Hollywood movies. So, find time to catch those that you think will appeal to your sensibilities, if only once a year.