Must-Watch: Pamilya Ordinaryo

It’s rare for me to catch the Cinemalaya film festival because of work and the traffic (mainly because of the traffic). This year, I didn’t get to see any entry but luckily, Pamilya Ordinaryo (directed by Eduardo Roy Jr.)2016 Cinemalaya Best Film, was released commercially. After work, I hurriedly lined up in Megamall. To my surprise, Train to Busan was also showing, so the queues were way longer than expected for a Thursday night *sighs*. I missed the beginning of the film but enjoyed the movie nonetheless. (Actually, I was more worried for my friend who wasn’t used to watching indie movies).

(Via Cinemalaya)
Move over Jadine, #ARJAN is the real deal. (Via Cinemalaya)

Pamilya Ordinaryo follows (literaly) the lives of a teenage couple, Aries (Ronwaldo Martin) and Jane Ordinaryo (Best Actress, Hasmine Killip), with their less than a month old son, Baby Arjan. The Ordinaryo family is not your ordinary family as they claim the streets as their home, their turf. Aries, 17, the head of the household, provides for his family by snatching cellphones, bags and wallets. Sometimes Jane, 16, and even Baby Arjan, also participate in the modus. The Ordinaryos are caught off guard when Baby Arjan gets kidnapped. Aries and Jane then find themselves in the shoes of their victims, distraught and desperate. How will Aries and Jane find their beloved baby when they are but the decomposers at the bottom of the food chain? 

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Sinag Maynila 2016 Finalists

I am a fan of Sinag Maynila. (Too bad, I didn’t finish reviewing all the films. Sorry.) It’s a film festival that doesn’t try to impress, or at least please, everyone. Each film spoke different realities in different languages to a somehow universal indie-following audience. The fact that it only had five entries meant that the qualification process was more rigorous than a certain commercialized film festival in December.

I found out from the Sinag Maynila FB page that the 2016 finalists have been announced. Notably, all have one word titles. Here are the five relevant films to watch out for next year along with some of my thoughts based on their short descriptions:

Sinag Maynila 2015 Finalists
Sinag Maynila 2016 Finalists

1. “DYAMPER” by Mes de Guzman

Apeng, Poknat, and Tinoy are “dyampers” on the lookout to steal from rice trucks as they meander along the treacherous winding roads of Dalton Pass. In one of their encounters, they accidentally discover a pack of illegal substances which will lead them to the biggest mission of their lives.

I love how Sinag Maynila entries take us to places we have never been to or part of the country where you wouldn’t know to be fit for cinematography, just like last year’s Bambanti. Dyamper will be shot in the Dalton Pass that connects Nueva Ecija and Nueva Viscaya. I can only imagine how difficult the production will be. The things we do for cinematic metaphors. I’m also guessing that the three leads are children or boys in their adolescence judging by their names. Can’t wait to see how this will turn out!

2. “EXPRESSWAY” by Ato Bautista

Old-timer Ben needs to do one last assignment before the syndicate boss he works for grants him his much delayed retirement. Assigned to be his partner is neophyte Morris, yearning to prove his worth. This last trip will turn out to be a journey of introspection, self-healing, and redemption.

Is it just me or does the synopsis sound similar to On The Job? The nature of the syndicate is not specified but I do hope it isn’t drugs. Whatever it is, I’m sure the story will be attacked differently.

3. “LILA” by Gino M. Santos

To escape a past that threatens to consume her, a young woman decides to move into a house owned by a warm-hearted landlady, looking for a fresh start and a chance for atonement. The house, however, has other ideas.

I smell a horror flick! This is a first in Sinag Maynila. I’m so excited! I’m just not a fan of film titles with a person’s name. In the long run, films with names tend to become forgettable (except for Bona of course). Well, that’s just me.

4. “MRS.” by Adolf Alix Jr.

70-year old Virginia lives in a bungalow house that stands on an earthquake fault area. When her ever-loyal maid Delia tells her she’d be leaving for good, what follows shows a portrait of a woman and a mother trying to juggle the sad realities of life.

This is very relevant, especially after Metro Manila underwent an earthquake drill recently. Hopefully, people will still recall it next year when the films are shown. Anyway, the premise of the film is very promising and I expect this to be nostalgic and heart-warming. I absolutely love old lady characters. Just don’t kill Virginia please. I will cry for sure!

5. “TPO (Temporary Protection Order)” by Joselito Altarejos

Teresa, an abused wife, attempts to secure her freedom by filing a Temporary Protection Order against her abusive husband only to be caught in the battered system of bureaucracy filled with neglect and indifference.

I’ve always wondered how a TPO helps in actually protecting the victim. I mean, it’s just a piece of paper. If someone wants to get near you, he can do so, unless detected and properly apprehended. In the country, bluntly speaking, I doubt that a TPO can do anything . This could be a big eye-opener for the government. How do we really protect the abused? Do we make it easy for them? Or is this another case of process paralysis?

We have to sit and wait a few more months to see how this new batch of films will deliver. Moreover, I can’t wait to find out which actors will be tapped to play the lead and supporting roles. Sinag 2015 did very well and I hope 2016 will be even more impactful and unconventional.

Are you looking forward to the Sinag Maynila 2016 Film Festival? Which film is your early favorite among the Sinag Maynila 2016 finalists? Sound off in the comments below.

Remember Her Name: Lilia Cuntapay

“Kilala mo ba kung sino si Lilia Cuntapay?” 

Lilia Cuntapay (KOON-tah-pie) may be an unfamiliar name, but if you grew up watching the earlier movies of the Shake Rattle and Roll franchise, her face has haunted you at some point in your life. So you better remember her name.

Now an award winning actress (Cinema One Originals 2011), Lilia Cuntapay stars in Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay (written and directed by Antoinette Jadaone), a mockumentary of her journey leading to a fictionalized awards night. Along the way, we discover the story of the woman behind the mysterious persona we’ve grown to fear. Her motivations and aspirations. Her professional ethics. The highs, glamor, and prestige. The trade-offs, sacrifices and disappointments.

What does it take to be the most iconic bit player of Philippine horror movies?

I was lucky enough to have caught the movie (together with Dagitab) in a special screening in Teatrino last January 17, 2015. The movie surpassed any of my expectations. Each scene was effectively executed. It garnered genuine laughs and tears (at least from me). More than a comedy, (also according to the makers) the film is an inspiring tale of an underrated personality who values her craft more than anything else.

#Unfriend Movie Review

I actually had no idea of the existence of Unfriend until I saw the trailer in JackTV. Instantly, I had to watch it, I thought. As I searched about it in the web, I was surprised when I realized that the movie was based on a not so old piece of news years ago about a shooting incident in a mall involving two teenage boys.

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This sparked my interest and curiosity. As I continued researching, I found the news sad and frustrating. It could have been prevented since all the clues were on the victim’s Facebook wall. (This could always be one of the cons of social media. Not everything’s taken seriously, even something that could lead to a gruesome crime.)

Naturally, I wanted to know how the movie would play out this story that was misunderstood by most people not only because it was about homosexuality but also it involved two young minors.

Unfriend put viewers in the eyes of David (Sandino Martin) a homosexual teen presumably younger than his former-boyfriend Jonathan (Angelo Ilagan), who dumped him on Christmas Eve.

The movie revolved around David’s desperation to get Jonathan back. He would struggle with his emotions and develop some sort of obsessive and a self-destructive behavior. Although he had a loving grandmother that had no idea about his online life, his sole outlets were computer games and social media.

WARNING: SPOILERS AFTER THE JUMP!

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