Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Cinemalaya Film Festival

The 1st Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival 2005 is a joint endeavor of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Film Development Council of the Philippines and the University of the Philippines Film Institute.

Scheduled to screen at UP Film Center this week, July 18-23 are the following full-length feature films.


The purity of first love is pitted against the squalor and corruption found in the slums of Manila, the setting for Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros (The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros). Gay, pre-teen Maxi is slavishly and uncomplainingly devoted to his family of small-time criminals. He cleans house for them, cooks for them, washes their underwear, mends their tattered jeans, and, if push comes to shove, covers their tracks for them so they wouldn't get caught. His world revolves around them. That is, until he meets Victor, a principled, idealistic and handsome policeman. Maxi befriends Victor, who, in inspiring the boy to hope for a better life, earns the ire of Maxi's family.

BARYOKE by: Byron Bryant

A sleepy village is turned upside down by a videoke machine. This light-hearted tragicomedy focuses on four characters whose feelings are long repressed by their individual condition, and like many people in the barrio, find singing in the videoke the sole expression of their sentiments in life: Lea, a 14-year old orphan who works as a maid in the nearest town and is forced to swallow the daily humiliation from her employer; Perla, a bored and sexually stagnate wife who always attempts to leave her husband but never had the courage to do so; Joan, a young prostitute outcast in the verge of exposing the village preacher as her most ardent client; and Digna, a public school teacher who became catatonic as a result of the death of her husband and children. When the barangay captain Ka Munding, holds a videoke contest, the four women competed in the finals. Singing on the videoke slowly awakens their self-worth an awakening that leads them to confront their repression and overcoming them.

BIG TIME by: Mario Cornejo and Coreen Jimenez

Big Time follows the misadventures of two small-time criminals, Danny and Jonas. When they attempt to move into the big time, a series of unforeseen events soon draw them in way over their heads. What starts as a simple kidnapping soon develops into three days of fun, games, and death. Big Time is the story of a felony gone horribly, horribly awry. Fun for the entire family!

ISNATS by: Michael Angelo P. Dagñalan

This movie dwells on the effects of technology to people, specifically, the Filipino people. In a world wherein modern technology serves as the driving mechanism of people's lives, the story attempts to show that people's needs and wants remain the same despite the many technological changes bombarding their daily lives. One of the main characters is J, who works as a snatcher and as a small time pickpocket. Everything turns out to be worse than it used to when J steals the cellphone of Sam (an ex-cop who now works for a drug syndicate). J got himself into trouble by meddling in an activity involving drugs, which was supposed to be carried out by Sam. Sam was able to track J down and in order to survive together they struggled to run from Sam's drug syndicate which is out to kill both of them. The story ends in a hopeful note, with the two characters hoping that life would get better if eventually, they learn to play with life's tricks and trades. The film shows that despite the technological changes we are facing, one thing remains constant: our weakness for material things.

ICU BED #7 by: Rica Arevalo

The patriarch, Joseph, an alcoholic and gambler played by Eddie Garcia is rushed to the Intensive Care Unit. His daughters Cely (Irma Adlawan) and Beth (Angel Aquino) are torn between ending or prolonging his life by making the necessary medical interventions. The whole family is in crisis. At the same time, both Cely and Beth have to cope with their husbands and children.

LASPONGGOLS by: Sigfreid Barros-Sanchez

Laponggols is a black comedy film which focuses on two film workers, Raffy, the clapper, and Dido, a utility boy. Both share the same dream: to direct their own films someday. Their lives as mere "small production people" took a different turn when, together with the people in the unit van they were riding, had an encounter with armed men. Their co-workers were killed, and the two of them were forced to drive the unit van out of fear until it ran out of gas. The van contains equipment for movie production like cameras, lights and film stocks. They ended up in a secluded barrio not yet reached by modern technology, and therefore, the townsfolk knew nothing of the movie industry. The two pretended to be famous yet unrecognized directors, Erik Matti and John Red and told the people that they were looking for actors for the movie they are going to shoot. This news made the barrio people over-enthusiastic until everyone - from the village idiot to the village head - forced their way to be included in the supposed "film." The barrio suddenly became a "microcosm" of the film industry.

PEPOT ARTISTA by: Clodualdo del Mundo Jr.

Pepot Artista ia a comedy-musical that focuses on a ten-year-old boy whose dream is to become a movie star. Pepot, the dreamer, is surrounded by people who are equally dazzled by the movie world. The film explores the penchant of Pinoys for entertainment in the midst of serious social problems.

ROOM BOY by: Alfred Aloysius L. Adlawan

Luis Manalansan Jr works as a motel room boy who finds out one day that the boarding house where he is renting a room is about to be demolished. This sends him hunting for a new place to live with the help of Melba, a prostitute who is a regular client at the motel. Lonely and vulnerable, Luis starts falling for Melba. But giving in to his emotions means abandoning his wife, Mercy, who is recuperating from a mental relapse inside a mental institution. Torn between his newfound love and his marital vows, Luis turns his room hunting into an emotional journey that leads him to his ultimate dwelling place.

SARONG BANGGI (One Night) by: Emmanuel Dela Cruz

Sarong Banggi, as the Bicol song of the same title suggests, takes place in the span of one night. It opens with a barkada teenage boys in search of carnal pleasure. As they go their separate ways with their respective partners for the night, one of them goes in a different direction. He strikes up a conversation with an older woman, and as the night grows deeper, so does their new relationship. What starts out casually turns intimate and surprisingly tender. In this unusual one nightstand the teenage boy loses his virginity and the more experienced, toughened woman rediscovers her vulnerability.

For Cinemalya winners, click here.

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