(This time, for the films)
This is for my love of films and the admiration to filmmakers and writers. I want to break down the documentaries and films shown at “Sining Siwalat” but I’m no professional but again, I love movies and documentaries so why not and write about it. Get bored.
Disclaimer: THIS IS PURELY MY PERSONAL OPINION AND REALIZATIONS. NOT A PRO BUT WANT TO BE ONE.
A story of a teenager fed up by problems at home, a typical story of peer-pressure. This is a bold move by college students to show the reality of drug abuse in our generation and pre-marital sex. It’s funny that it plays with our mind if Ligaya truly exists, so as Mary Jane, or they are just portrayals of a party drug and marijuana given their names. This is a great short that gives us a glimpse of reality and a look to the world of a drug abuser. Good research or personal experience? Nevertheless, great story.
This short is a feel good short film but at the end of the film you will see the depth of it. Some may say that it is a cliché ending of an internal family issue but the side where the main character does a video blog to not show how he really feels is also a manifestation of reality. This is what I like short independent films; it can portray a story of many individuals in a short amount of time. Vlog, just like Relapse, gives us what is happening in our real world and letting us see that through lenses. I like that they made the sister close to her brother, and when asked if they’re close he jokingly said no but took it back; a great scene that gives us something in the end which is the real reason why he asks for approval from other people. This short film made me realize the urgent need for more information about mental health and that alone gives this film a commendation.
If you love film theories and cliffhangers, Tala would be a great one for you. Set in the martial law years (or post-martial law, I cannot remember), Tala gave the audience a taste of what it’s like during those times. I find it interesting that they used a negative tone in asking, “Hindi ka ba malaya?” If you look at it, asking a yes or no on that question gives us just one answer: Hindi ako malaya. Letting the audience know, knowing that the audience is mostly composed of college students not born in that era, that whatever is happening back then, there is no freedom. I also love the way the conversation went on with only just questions. “Bakit hindi mo ako tinatanong ng “bakit?”” “Nasaan na po si Lucilla?”” It deeply tells the story and when the main character gives the portrait he drew, the shot gives us a glimpse of the nurse. It leaves the audience the freedom of asking if the nurse was shocked, are they related, what really happened. The best thing? There’s no wrong answer. Lastly, when the nurse asked the character on how he escaped he began describing the four walls of the room; it got me thinking that, what if he never left and stayed and he does not know what really happened to Lucilla. The best thing? There’s no wrong answer and we can go with whatever theory we want.
A not so typical story, shot only in a room. The genius of shooting this one in just a room was enough to tell the story. A story of selfishness, self-approval, self-esteem, domestic violence, and friendship; Lagda, gives us these things. A story of girl who always want her parents to be proud of her and in doing so, always want to excel in any ways and a girl who was raped by his dad who was afraid of going to authorities. Two different stories but that’s just who we are as Filipinos, we always think excelling every time will be the best way to make our parents proud and in the side of parents, pressuring their children on excelling every time. We also think, because of our close family ties culture, relatives are to be defended even though they already broke the law, or in this case, broke the girl as a person. I just feel like this kind of a story would be good in a full length film because the film itself is wanting more storyline with the two girls as best friends and an emphasis on how the idea of writing the story into an essay and winning, for me, will make the suicidal tragic. Over-all, it gives us a great plot with a great tragic ending.
Let me just say this, this is the first time a short independent film gave me goosebumps the whole film. A lot of independent films gave me goosebumps in some scenes but this gave me one, the whole time. Hapis was well thought, well written, and well played. The breakdown of each sorrowful mystery into what is happening in the life of the character was just genius; from the agony in the garden, portraying it by there’s no food to eat and just praying. A crucial part would be the guy character; it gives the audience a sense of what will happen next, especially in scourging at the pillars mystery. We thought, at the end, knowing that the last mystery was death of Jesus Christ at the cross, the main character will die but, like what I said that it is well written, the film showed us a different view; a different view of sorrow and agony and leading to doing something not good. The reveal on the last sequence was superb. The minute she was done praying the rosary, revealing that she was already in prison but that’s not the best part. The best part was the last shot, when the camera zooms out, it was a shot well thought by the production, no wonder this film got the best film of the festival.
Let me commend the college students who made this film because not all first films of people are horror or thrillers, it is with great thinking these genre are successful. A great use of the setting and a great twist at the end, Istatik gives this to you. While watching the film, I ask myself why is there only one seeing the black lady even though it was so obvious. My only take would be, the storyline would be at its best if it was a full length film with a backstory on what really happened to that place and who the girl was all along. Istatik plays with the audience mind in a different way, not unlike what we usually see in mystery films. It gives us the chills and the portrayal of the actors made the story look better.
(Posters taken from Sining Siwalat Facebook page. Credits to the owners)
Awesome job by the people behind this film festival! Hope everyone can see what you did! Go out and do more, we deserve to see a lot of these!