Friday, August 2, 2013

Cinemalaya 9: backtracks

Hey! It’s time to resurrect my blog back into life again. Haha! I’m the worst in being consistent with this. My life’s been a bit ugh and hopefully I get back as soon as possible. Anywaaaaaaaaaaaaay, back to business.
It’s the last week of July and every film enthusiast knows what it means! Cinemalaya time! Oh yea!
I have been exposed to the wonderful world of Cinemalaya back in second year college, through my friend who invited me to watch. I don't remember what we watched back then but right then and there my life changed. chos!  Hihi! Being me, I’m easily interested with anything new and intriguing plus the fact that it’s so affordable (it was still 50php for students years back) .

So I’ve scanned through my scrapbook and saw this. It says it’s my 1st Cinemalaya ticket. haha! I guess me and my friend wasn’t able to watch back in 2008 or maybe I just lost the ticket. idk.

 Since then I always see to it that I take part in this wonderful festival every year even just a film or two to see. Cinemalaya is such a breath of fresh air from all those cliché-filled films in the market (even if they say countless of times that their storyline is new, uh, not really). The films showcased in this festival bring us to a world where you would see more into life through the character’s eyes. It  tackles a wide variety of issues from gender, OFWs, miners, organ donors, criminals, sex workers to more other stories of people that might haven’t even crossed your mind from the very start. The range is endless that no wonder each year more and more patrons flock in to see what’s new.
Last Friday, July 26, 9th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and Competition with a theme of "Cinesthesia: Synergy of the Senses".  This year 5 films (Amor y Muerte, Ekstra, Porno, Sana Dati and Liars) in Directors Showcase; 10 films (Babagwa, David F, Debosyon, Instant Mommy, Nuwebe, Purok 7, Quick Change, Rekorder, The Diplomat Hotel and Transit); and as 2 sets of Short features with 5 in each. The festival opened with a film entitled “Jazz in Love”, a documentary film by Babyruth Villarama-Guttierez which is free for all to see.

Last Saturday I went with my friend and as expected a lot of films are already sold out. Ekstra and Diplomat Hotel were already sold out even days before the opening. We arrived before 12:30pm and we’re left with no choice for the 12:45, 3:30 and 6:10 slot. We still pushed thru with those 3 films and just decided to pass on the 9 pm slot which still have 2 films available (Porno and Quick Change). And that’s what you get when you come after noon with no pre bought tickets in a weekend. sad.

First stop: Nuwebe
So basically it’s about a Filipina who got pregnant at the tender age of 9, thus the title, and how she and her family dealed with it. The film followed the story of Krista, the 9 yr old girl, as she narrates her experience. It's based on a true to life story of incest, an issue that's not different nowadays. 

Honestly, I wasn't too charmed by how the story went. Nevertheless, it received a generous amount of applause in the end. I just felt like the story went too slow and quite dragging, you know those times where you can go pee because you won't miss something big if you go. I'm also quite confused with some of the lines Krista had, there are times that it doesn't feel like it fits the character. Idk, but I felt she overdid it at some point. But anyway, in terms of the story, it was good. They injected some factors that made the film interesting.

Purok 7

This is another film in the New Breed Full-length category by Carlo Obispo. It follows the story of Doray and his brother as they live their lives on their own waiting for the time their family becomes complete again. 

This film is heartwarming by its own. It made me laugh, cry and giddy as the story progress. Hands down also to the 2 main leads ( Krystle Valentino & Miggs Cuaderno) who acted so naturally that it felt so real making you feel that genuine longingness for their family. 

It also injected some kilig factor, the puppy love for young ones, that balanced the feels. We saw it during the gala night so the director and some of the cast and crew were there. I believe they succeeded on their goal because everyone in the main theater that day saw and heard how the audience reacted and connected with the film. 
It was simple yet full of emotion you'll bring the character's feels as you go out the venue. It was no extraordinaire that will make you "woah" but it was something plain and simple, told in the eyes of the siblings that made the film genuinely good, and awesome.
PS. I think my love for dancers/bboys came back after seeing this. hihi.

Quick Change

I just saw this yesterday with my hs friend. Stories like this are the reason I kept coming back every year. It's about issues not too talked about or quite new, for my case, that you get too much information afterwards, but it's all good. haha. 
The story revolved around Tita Dorina, a transexual who makes a living through her underground operation. She "helps" her fellow bekis and others in achieving their pegs in life through injecting "collagen". This was new to me that's why I'm so hooked on how the story progressed. I never knew that this things happen. I mean I know nose lift and stuff is done in private clinics but I never knew that some do this underground, it's just too risky. scary.

 Anyway before I get completely sidetracked, the story was nicely plotted. They tackled the life of transexuals, the usual love and acceptance and mainly the risk and outcome of such "work". It also has the comedic side which everyone liked. I'm uncertain with the last part because it felt like they ran out of time that they pushed the story to end the climax. I don't know, it was just.. yea, expected but hasty(?). Anyway, I still loved the film because it tackled a lot of things that I'm not too aware of so it was a nice experience and also entertaining, nonetheless.

To get things straight, I'm no movie critic though, I'm just a film enthusiast and an avid fan of such films so please bear with how this is so MABABAW. hehe. I just like to share how I felt while I saw these films. I hope I could see all other films especially those in the New Breed categories because it's there I see mostly the gems in this festival. 

The Mexi Combi parked upp the CCP ramp which gained a lot of curios stares. Their pork soft tacos were superb!

One more new things this year is they let some food establishments make some makeshift stalls in the balcony side of CCP. That was a very smart and useful move indeed. July to August is a rainy season so it's really not practical to go down and snack out every break while waiting for the next film. So thank you so much for that Cinemalaya organizers! Maybe next time you could also make some vacant space/room/hall as a waiting area especially for those going alone. hihi. Just a suggestion. =]

"DON'T go beyond this point"... what sign? ... uhmm..

I believe Cinemalaya 9 was very successful this year, judging by the ticket sales and the films and the directors that were given a chance to showcase their talents, yet again. Never disappointing. Props to Filipino film makers, more and more each year are enchanted by your work of art. Thanks for sharing your talents with your fellow Filipinos!

PS. I feel like a whiner now. haha! But I really think that Cinemalaya organizers should consider stretching the festival for at least two weeks, maybe. I mean the following is significantly large right now unlike in the past years. Even tickets for weekday sched are selling like pancakes too (the case in CCP) so I hope they stretch the schedule next year so other could still have the chance to see other films they like. More days, all happier. right? C'mon, O hope somebody suggests this to them.