Cinemalaya Day 1. I was able to screen 8 films in competition...3 full features and 5 shorts.
DEATH. "100" (by Chris Martinez) is about a stern, uptight and exacting woman with a terminal illness who tries to accomplish a list of 100 things to do before she dies. Her tasks vary from the simple to the complicated, from the practical to the mundane, from the ordinary to the extraordinary. In the process, she accepts the truth that even if death is something personal, dying never is.
"100" has a great narrative that can hook audiences. Sequence treatment was well thought of, and the director was able to use a great yet simple visual device...the Post-It. Great acting from Mylene Dizon and Eugene Domingo. The only thing that bothered me was the over-use of the Post-It magnifier, it became an irritant in the end lalo na when her list of "to do's" went longer and longer because people kept on adding into it. "Will this end?" you'll say. The film is longer than the average 1.5 hours in Cinemalaya...but the story will keep you posted in your seats (just like Mylene's Post-Its...hehe).
Photos (from top): "100" Director Chris Martinez, "100" Actress Eugene Domingi and fellow art film buff Bianca
MURDER. "Jay" (by Francis Xavier Pasion) is the name of the two protagonists in the film, one is living, the other dead. The living Jay is producing a documentary of the dead Jay, a gay teacher who was brutally killed. As Jay recreates and examines the life of his subject, his own life is affected when he unravels his subject's hidden life and secret love.
"Jay" is the most experimental Cinemalaya film I've seen since "Tulad Ng Dati" (Cinemalaya 2006 Best Picture). At first I thought it would be another Sherlock Holmes/Nancy Drew "who-killed-Jay" story...but NO! As in NO! The film will surprise you as it takes another twist in a murder story. So twisted it will make your jaw drop in awe and laughter. "Jay" was able to execute the films experimental plot without losing the viewers' attention. Clever screenplay...no wonder it won last year in the Cinemanila Screenplay Writing Contest. Jay is my first choice for the top Cinemalaya prize so far. The only thing I didn't like...the ending sequence.
Photos (from left): "Jay" Actor (and my favourite Indie Actor) Coco Martin, "Jay" Lead Actor and Producer Baron Geisler
KULONG. "Ranchero" (by Michael Christian Cardoz) is the story of convicts who serve a special role inside the jail-they prepare the meals everyday. But in a jail where some inmates see no reason to continue living, what is the role of food? Is the food's role to extend life or to prolong the pain of those who don't want to live?
"Ranchero" was so baaad! The problem with a "slice-of-life" film is when you don't have a life to slice at all. The film's approach was a disaster because the characters don't have a character. It appeared like a cooking show in a prison! The material used is more like a short, but extended to 1hr and 15mins! The film had a chance to redeem itself by putting in a story conflict, but it happened after 1hr and 14mins...just when the film was about to end. Sad.
I'll be reviewing the shorts in another day. Cinemalaya is still ongoing at the Cultural Center Of The Philippines.