I don't have anything against DAYO, the only animated entry to this year's MMFF. In fact...I love it! It will not be a surprise if the jury will "surprise" us by choosing this low-budgeted, but well supported, cartoon as best picture.
Low-budgeted: they need sponsors to finish the film. They even tried to get some Unilever brands in it.
Well supported: given the cast/talents in the animation (Lea Salonga, Laurice Guillen, Peque Gallaga, Michael V, Johnny Delgado, Pokwang and many more)...it is obvious that they did it because they believe (and love) the project.
I admire the film's simplicity: easy to understand (for the young)...yet not too simple for the "young once".
The other thing that worked for the film was the explosive combination of Filipino sentimentality and the animation as medium. The two blended perfectly like Nescafe and Coffee Mate. This is something Hollywood lacks now...they can't maximize the power of animation because they don't have a powerful story to tell.
But in spite of the simplicity, the director didn't forget his film making techniques. Even with animation, they were able to integrate great camera angles, nice color grading (ie lighting in a live action feature) and brilliant story telling. This is also the only film in the festival which used Dolby 7.1 technology, and a fully orchestrated musical score.
He was amazing with details: a last supper photo in the dining room, an altar in the living room, and exact replica of EDSA. He was also able to critic Filipino culture by integrating jokes like:
(both lines by a manananggal) "ang polluted pala ng hangin sa Maynila", "ang hirap naman lumipad dito, ayaw kasing ayusin ng Meralco tong mga kable na to".
And unlike your typical animation feature, DAYO has no clear line between the good and the evil.
For example: (1) the manananggal sidekicks admit that they eat people, (2) the lead character did something wrong to a balete tree, (3) the engkantos (kontrabidas) did something bad to the lead's lolo and lola cause they were just reacting to the boy's balete burning.
So who's evil? EVERYONE! Who's good? EVERYONE! DAYO showed the moral cycle of sinning-repenting-evangelizing. It showed that we all create mistakes, and a person doesn't need to be as white as snow to be a saint.
DAYO is the sartorialist of the netherworld. If the manananggal, tikbalang and kapre can walk freely on the streets, how will they look and act? By making the mananaggal speak Taglish (kris aquino style), the tikbalang egoistically funny, and the kapre Bisaya...DAYO transformed these mythical figures to your normal Filipino on the street.
I have a lot to say about DAYO. But to end, I would like to share with you the funniest line in the film:
(tikbalang after his hair was touched) "My MANE! My MANE!" :-)