I must admit that I am not a fan of Filipino movies. I watch more of foreign produced than our local ones. I’m not sure when did that happen because if I remember it correctly I’ve loved movies like Muro-Ami (1999), Bagong Buwan (2001) and the likes. All my interest went out of the window as I grew up. It could be because of the Western influence and they started to enter our theaters more than they should or it’s just really that Filipino films are getting worse and cliche. Though, it was kind of resurrected when I saw the indie film, That Thing Called Tadhana. Sounds cliche? I think not.
But mostly, I am not a fan of Metro Manila Film Fest. I don’t waste time lining up on cinemas during holidays to be part of it. Every year, it’s like the same movies again and again. That is cliche.
This year (or should I say “last year” but I feel like it just happened yesterday 😂😂), a good Samaritan gave me this passes for every MMFF film, which is so LIT because I only have to pay PHP5.00/movie. I wasn’t planning to watch but when I saw that MMFF is showing the “the not usual” movies it used to showcase yearly, I decided to give it a go.
There are only three (3) MMFF entries showing at SM Center Angono (January 2nd). One is Vince & Kath & James and nope, I don’t want to watch that “online romantic series”. Do not get me wrong, I have read it when it got viral and it’s really nice to read something like that to kill time but to turn it into an actual book, nope. They just wasted trees. I’m not gonna waste my time on the movie. The other one is Seklusyon and then Die Beautiful. You should know by now that I went for that two.
Synopsis: “Set in 1947, the story revolves around the old ritual done by the church where deacons or aspiring priests are sent in a secluded area on the last seven days of their training. The purpose of this seclusion is to shield them from evil.”
I have seen the trailer of Seklusyon and I don’t want to see it alone so I brought my mother with me. Hello from us 🤗
It wasn’t really that scary but it did make my heart skipped a beat at some scenes. The sounds and effects are both effective. Cinematography-wise, it’s lit. But no, this is not that kind of horror movie that will haunt you until you fall asleep. But it will surely make you think. I’m guessing that some won’t like the ending because it will leave you like “What? Is that it? What happened?” That was actually my first thoughts for a second then everything just clicked. I think this is one big metaphor of sort. I don’t want to spoil if you haven’t seen it yet but let me just say that “Anghela” isn’t that kind of demon we used to see in exorcisms. I think she is that demon who will whisper to your ears all the sins you are trying to run away from. She is the reminder that you are just human. It is called Seklusyon for a reason. She is the final test. And if there’s one major thing this movie imparted in me is that: you can run away from things and go after the other but that doesn’t mean you can actually chase it. There’s no guarantee you’ll have it. Along the way, you will fail other people– and you will fail yourself too.
I wasn’t really sure about the acting abilities here, though, because I was so focused on the plot. I was trying to solve the mystery myself as I watched. My mother and I jokingly said though: “those are surely pretty good-looking deacons” 😅😅 Shame. But we really love how the child actress, Rhed Bustamante, depicted her role.
Also, I have noticed that Padre Ricardo (Neil Ryan Sese) just died after all those investigations of Madre Cecilia (Phoebe Walker). There was this one scene when Sandoval (Lou Veloso) shoot the Bishop and told him “Go for her. She’s waiting for you.” He went away and confronted Anghela (Rhed Bustamante) and bam DEAD! But anyways, it woke up Miguel (Ronnie Alonte) from the truth so still vital for the ending.
Synopsis: “Trisha, a Filipino transgender woman, suddenly dies while being crowned in a beauty pageant. Her last wish was to be presented as a different celebrity on each night of her wake, but her conservative father wants to bury her as a man. Trisha’s friends are left with no choice but to steal her body and hold the wake in a secret location. And as Trisha is transformed to look like different celebrities, they also look back at the colorful and extraordinary life that she has led – being a son, a sister, a mother, a friend, a lover, a wife, and ultimately, a queen.”
The next one we watched was Die Beautiful. It portrays so much about the gay/trans community–how they are treated and how they get by. It was funny, of course, most gay people are so good at making people happy even if they are not happy themselves (which I really admire them for). It was heartwarming to see the kind of friendship between Trisha (Paolo Ballesteros) and Barbs (Christian). Literally, through thick and thin and ’til death do us part. It made me tear up a bit during the last day of Trisha’s funeral as Barbs was like saying his eulogy to his friend. Their acting was so remarkable. I also like how it is so blunt. There were no filter in ‘wordings’ just like how we actually converse sometimes. It’s just so true.
The story isn’t that special but I really do appreciate how they unveil the plot piece by piece. There were some unexpected twists and turns that will surely moved you.
Trisha’s story with his family made me really sad and all I could think was: we should not just accept people for who they are. We must also respect them for who they want to become.
I hope I got more time to watch the other entries but holidays’ over and it’s time to get back to work tomorrow. That is also the last day of MMFF 😞 I hope they extend until the 7th! And I hope MMFF will keep choosing quality over money. Cheers to a job well done!