A bunch of 10-year-old kids rob pedestrians and kill without mercy. But after a failed bank robbery, the dangerous game comes to an end with twenty years of imprisonment. After two decades, they are released but soon begin to disappear one by one. Continue reading Khavn – Alipato: The Very Brief Life of an Ember (2016)
Sid Lucero, a 26-year old pre-Med student is an aspiring neophyte of the Alpha Kappa Omega fraternity. Over a six-month initiation period, he and six other neophytes are subjected to severe physical and psychological torture in and outside the fraternity house. The neophytes come to accept the senseless violence as a requisite of their acceptance into the brotherhood. Only five of them survive the brutal, fascistic ordeal, due to the fraternity rumble with Sigma Omicron Sigma headed by Arvisu.
De Leon treats the fraternity as a microcosm of Philippine society to spotlight issues relating to human rights and autocratic rule at the height of Marcos’ martial rule. The significance of the film derives from the parallelism it draws between authoritarian society and the fraternity, and between the fraternity and Philippine society under Marcos.
(L. Pareja, CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art, v. VIII: Philippine Film) Continue reading Mike De Leon – Alpha Kappa Omega Batch ’81 (1982)
Poldo, a lowly security in a publishing firm, dreams to be rich. He becomes the personal bodyguard to his employer’s son, Sonny, when he impresses the latter with his courage and skills during a quarrel where Poldo defended Sonny. Poldo gets a taste of his boss’ carefree and extravagant lifestyle and thinks that he accepts him as a friend. In one of the nightclubs they frequent, Sonny is smitten by dancer Cristy and aggressively pursues her despite a warning from San Pedro, the movie director with whom Cristy has an affair. When they chance upon each other, Sonny and San Pedro fight. Poldo comes to his boss’ rescue and guns down San Pedro. In subsequent circumstances, Poldo would soon arrive at a bitter realization. As he could not see in Sonny the benefactor that he pictured him to be, Poldo finds himself alone, abandoned and betrayed. Continue reading Lino Brocka – Jaguar (1979)
After spending the last 30 years in prison, Horacia is immediately released when someone else confessed to the crime. Still overwhelmed by her new freedom, she comes to the painful realization that her aristocratic former lover had set her up. As kidnappings targeting the wealthy begin to proliferate, Horacia sees the opportunity to plot her revenge. Continue reading Lav Diaz – Ang babaeng humayo aka The Woman Who Left (2016)
made with uncompromising and austere seriousness, Lav Diaz’s “Evolution of a Filipino Family” patiently and methodically observes the collapse and hopeful revival of a poor farming clan, meant to symbolize a nation’s history spanning 1971 to 1987. Ten-hour running time, radically slow pace and hyperminimalist mise en scene will excite international cinephiles at the most daring fests and showcases, which are the only conceivable venues outside of homevid. Continue reading Lav Diaz – Ebolusyon ng isang pamilyang Pilipino AKA Evolution of a Filipino Family (2004)
What makes Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos (Three Years without God), about the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines during World War II, such a great film? O’Hara’s style is thrillingly simple: each scene begins and ends like any other scene in a well-shaped drama. But there’s a quiet undercurrent that builds, sequence upon sequence, with the smoothness and power of a rising tsunami, until it pulls your feet out from under you, breaking high over your head, overwhelming you. Continue reading Mario O’Hara – Tatlong taong walang Diyos aka Three Godless Years (1976)