I’m a Cinemalaya newbie. Heck, it’s my first time to enter the premises of the Cultural Center of the Philippines despite the complex being within the area where I live. I’m lucky enough to see four films (two each in new breed and director’s showcase categories) in two different dates given the fact that almost all tickets to almost all screenings are sold out hours (some, even days) before the showing. A good thing if you ask me. It just means that the festival is becoming popular not only to film enthusiasts but to regular people, like me.
We wanted to see Ekstra but there were no tickets left. In fact, the only movies with available seats were Quick Change and Purok 7 (if I remember correctly). With no idea whatsoever on what the two films were about, we chose based on title alone. Quick Change it was.
Quick Change is the story of a transgender who has a flourishing career in illegal cosmetic surgery. The film has funny parts (mostly involving Hiro, the niece) and the plot is interesting though there are some dragging scenes. The protagonist Dorina has to deal with heartbreak (from her hot-tempered, cheating boyfriend) and guilt (when she found out the true nature of her business) on top of all the complexities someone like her faces in a society like ours. In one scene, after having anal sex, Dorina is masturbating (because only the boyfriend reached climax). Upon seeing her, the boyfriend shouted “Di ba sabi ko sa’yo ayokong nakikita yan!” and the unfairness irked me.
But it wasn’t only about Dorina. It’s also about the gays who are willing to be injected with collagen for the sake of beauty, for the sake of work, for the sake of their boyfriends, for the sake of. Being a nurse, the sight of needles and injection didn’t bother me one bit though I found it unrealistic (SPOILER ALERT!) for Dorina’s patient to die so suddenly, no gasping for air or any sort of reaction pertaining to allergic shock. Just a few twitching movement and bang, dead.
Annnnnnnnddddd, congrats to Mimi Juareza for winning Best Actor in the New Breed Category!
Porno is the story of a hitman, a porn dubber and a transgender not necessarily connected except for a mere video of two people having sex. It’s not for the faint-hearted but skin exposure diminishes as the minutes pass by. If you buy the ticket thinking you’ll be seeing 90 minutes of sexual action, you’re in for a
disappointment surprise. I’m a fan of Angel Aquino but what if a real transgender was cast for the role?
Amor Y Muerte is about the difference of two cultures in terms of sex. On one hand are the natives who follow whatever their bodies bid. On the other are Spaniards and Catholics who think the body is evil and lust will cause you to burn in hell. How hard it is for someone to suddenly change her ways just because she was semi-forced to change her religion. The movie is very silly. Every time “ahas” is mentioned, there’s a burst of laughter. And I don’t know why but the people (including me) found it hysterical when a guy refuses to have sex with a relatively hot girl despite her aggressiveness just because he is now a baptized Catholic. The guy then says, “Iba ang pagmamahal sa tawag ng laman” and the crowd goes wild.
The Diplomat Hotel reminds me of Hell House, same old formula for a horror/suspense story. People died/something horrible happened in a place so it must be haunted. Or, one of the characters is emotionally unstable/on drugs, he hallucinates, and kills everyone else. Or a combination of both. But I am in no position to judge because my eyes were closed 80% of the time. The best thing about the movie is Gretchen Barretto. I didn’t know she can act so well. Apparently, there’s more to this goddess other than her beauty and her Birkins.
Too bad I wasn’t able to catch Sana Dati and Purok 7. I should have watched them instead of The Diplomat Hotel since La Greta’s film would run in theaters nationwide in September (others are Instant Mommy and of course, Ekstra). Hope Sana Dati would have a theatrical run too because according to everyone, it was so good it made them cry (everyone being Jessica Zafra and a friend of a friend). I want a good cry and a good film would be a good excuse (yes, three “goods” in one sentence).
Will try to save for a festival pass. Hope to see you next year Cinemalaya!