Today started out just like most every Saturday. I woke up early after staying up late the night before because that was just how I let go of the stresses of the work week. I felt crappy and tired and didn’t really feel like going anywhere. There’s that feeling again of not wanting to leave the house after spending most of the weekdays outside, working. Weekends are supposed to be spent at home, doing nothing, but alas I have gotten a friend, Elise, to get me tickets to two Cinemalaya movies and thus I had to get off my lazy butt eventually to go. I found it ironic how I was wearing my Captain America/Hetalia crossover tshirt for an indie film festival. I just thought it was funny.
After satisfying a cheesy pasta craving, Elise and I headed off to CCP to get doused with some culture. Our first film was Ang Nawawala, which we both thoroughly enjoyed. It was definitely more than we both expected. From the trailer, you would think that it was just some love story with a very eclectic, hipster soundtrack, but as most Cinemalaya entries go, it goes deeper than that (Rule of thumb for Cinemalaya: Do not take trailers at face value). It is a love story and it does have a very cool soundtrack that most hipster or hipster-wannabe young’uns would enjoy, but it also tackles family and death and trauma and how they all intertwine to create one hell of a unique coming-of-age story for its protagonist who just refuses to talk. The music was all fun and unexpected, especially for me who just wasn’t hip with the indie music scene. The cinematography made Manila look so nice. They really chose their locations and made sure to capture how magical Manila can look when it’s Christmas, which was the time when the movie was set. The actors were good at what they did and I kept wondering if Dawn Zulueta was ever going to age. She’s just so beautiful even now and her talents haven’t diminished any, either. Boboy Garrovillo fit his role very well as the seemingly content father. I loved just how effortless it all seemed to him to play such a subtle role. Special kudos to the twins Dominic and Felix Roco who were both so great as, well, perhaps the main protagonists of the story. I loved their brotherly chemistry and banter and I kept wondering if they were particularly affected by the emotional scenes. Annika Dolonius who played the leading lady Enid, was charming and very convincing in her role as the beautiful, mysterious hipster girl who I may have wanted to be at times, haha. Mercedes Cabral also made an appearance and I still love her. She said my favorite line of the movie, “You like your boys like you like your comics. With many issues.” or something like that.
Our second movie was Kamera Obscura, which was probably the complete opposite of Ang Nawawala. For one, it’s a movie that features a silent film and for two, the setting of said silent film is of course the past. In particular, sometime between the 1920’s and 1930’s. I found it, again, ironic while I was watching it that there I was, willingly subjecting myself to a silent film when during my days as a Communication Arts student, watching silent films were considered some special kind of torture administered by our Introduction to Film professor. But then I liked period films and I’ve always admired Joel Torre, so I thought I’d give it a try. It’s not a film that you should watch when you want escapist fare. How can you escape reality when it offers political commentary on the government, the media and the people? At least you didn’t have to listen that attentively as the dialogue was flashed in text between scenes and takes just like how it was done in old silent films. Still, the film required a lot of attention and thinking, which we sort of expected, but I guess one should still psyche themselves up if they weren’t used to such films. The concept was unique, though, as the silent film itself was within a film and really, who even thought of making silent films nowadays? Definitely unique and you could see the effort they put into making it all look authentic. The look of the film was grainy and it really seemed like it was being filmed by old film cameras. There were interesting elements in the film that couldn’t have been possible before, though, but I guess that doesn’t really matter. I think the filmmakers were able to deliver their message pretty well given the medium they decided to use. Still, though. Be ready for some brain exercises.
All in all, another great Cinemalaya Saturday. There was some great bonding time with Elise and the films were both good. We saw some celebrities, had some geeky, nerdy conversations and Elise practiced her Nihonggo, haha. Not at all a bad Saturday spent out of the house.