Apocalypse Child is the story of surfing instructor and Baler native Ford (Sid Lucero), who is apparently the son of famed director Francis Ford Coppola. At least that’s the story, nay the urban legend even, in town.
By Mario Cornejo (writer-director) and Monster Jimenez (writer-producer), Apocalypse Child was an official entry to the QCinema International Film Festival Circle Competition just last month. It went home with four awards including Best Film, and Best Director for Cornejo. I was already eyeing to see this during the festival but alas my schedule got in the way. So when they held a charity screening at Rockwell earlier this week, I immediately grabbed the chance to catch it. I must admit: I came for Sid Lucero (I’m a huge fan!) but I stayed for the beauty of Baler and the mysteries that surround it. I’ve only been to Baler once, but this film is tempting me to go back.
Some, after watching the trailer, might dismiss this as merely a surfing movie, but it is much more than that. It isn’t even just the story of Ford. The people around Ford also get their space to share their own tragedies. Chona (Ana Abad Santos) is Ford’s mother who firmly believes that Francis Ford Coppola is Ford’s father, and is determined for father and son to meet in the future. However the truth is much bleaker than that. Fiona (QCinema Best Supporting Actress Annicka Dolonius) is Ford’s girlfriend, in town to tend to her dying grandmother. Ford’s childhood friend Rich (RK Bagatsing) left Baler for several years but has now returned to fulfill his duty as newly-elected congressman. He and Ford were as close as brothers before but time, distance, and conflicts happened, causing a rift in their relationship. If that’s not enough tragedy for you, he also has a damaged eardrum preventing him from surfing ever again. Serena (Gwen Zamora) is Rich’s fiancee, but spending time with Ford during surf lessons might give her second thoughts about her relationship. Jordan (Archie Alemania), Ford’s close friend, is the fifth wheel paving the way for comedic moments in the film.
I can’t say this enough, but Apocalypse Child is a visual and aural (thanks to Up Dharma Down’s Armi Millare) feast. Sid Lucero really fits the bill as the laid-back, carpe-diem-believing surfer. When the scene requires intensity and passion, he gives in spades. (I think I blushed a little during that scene.) Annicka Dolonius deserves the accolade as she shines in every scene that she is in. I have to give props to that scene when Fiona ambles to Ford’s house and asks him to hug ang console her for the last time. Pretty intense. I’m not too familiar with RK Bagatsing’s filmography but I’m looking forward to see more of him in films like this. On the flipside, I am familiar with Gwen Zamora’s work as a TV actress, but this film showed a new side of her. Archie Alemania is in a lot of films lately (my first reaction to seeing him on screen was siya na naman?) but his every-man character works perfectly in this film providing the comic icebreaker for when times might get overly dramatic. Finally, I have to commend Ana Abad Santos’s performance as Chona. I love how at the beginning she was just being Ford’s cool young mom and then slowly unraveling to a woman who has gone through a tragic childhood and coping. I was at the edge of seat in that scene where she was recounting the events leading to Ford’s conception at her young age of 14.
Here’s hoping there are more screenings (or even a commercial run) in the works soon. In the meantime, here’s the trailer for Apocalypse Child:
Have you watched Apocalypse Child? What did you think of the film? Are you, like me, wanting to return to Baler, feel the sun, surf the waves, and immerse in the town’s culture?