#Cinemalaya2016 Reviews, Part 1

After a year of no new full-length films, Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival is back in a bigger way. Not just because it has plenty of films to screen but also because it won’t be just screened in Metro Manila but also in Laguna and in Cebu! For more details, you can go to our guide here:


Here are our reviews of the 3 out of 9 entries in the full-length film category of Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival:


Poster Kusina
by David Corpuz and Cenon Palomares

After her mother died after giving birth to her, Juanita (Judy Ann Santos) grew up with her grandmother who taught her everything she needs to know around the kitchen. Hopeful but deprived of the love of her father, she tried to win everyone she loved through food.

The film goes from Juanita’s birth to her death, told in an ala-stage play technique. It’s a rather odd choice for a technique and it looks awkward at times but there’s something sincere told here in the story of Juanita. The loyal housewives, or the mothers who always look out for others and forgets about themselves. While not all mothers are like that and Juanita doesn’t perfectly represents mothers (the technique used limits its way of telling the story), the way Judy Ann Santos presents her character is so damn good. And her performance alone is worth seeing it.


Poster Dagsin
by Atom Magadia

Tommy Abuel and Lotlot De Leon gives astounding performances in Atom Magadia’s romance drama Dagsin. The film tells the story of Justino (Abuel), who survived the Death March, the Martial Law but left with one leg in his late years and becomes an aetheist. Being alone after his wife dies, he, with the help of their adopted child and his nurse reminisce his days with his loved one, and the hope that there is something beyond his knowledge after life.

Dagsin isn’t as compelling as it wants to be, while Abuel and De Leon’s performances were commendable, there’s nothing new with the story or how it is told. It’s decently made but there are clichés along the way and its predictability takes away its ability to glue its audience’s interest until the end.


Poster Tuos
by Derick Cabrido

A film starring Nora Aunor, already got your attention? But Tuos is far more than just having Nora Aunor as one of its stars. While Nora Aunor is Nora Aunor and her performance is flawless, the more captivating performance here is Barbie Forteza’s. Forteza knows how to be restraint and curious at the same time and even though her acting is almost natural for her character, she looks like she knows her character but also adds something in her to her character and it’s something amazing to watch.

Tuos is about a woman (Aunor), who must choose between her granddaughter’s (Forteza) life or an age-old tradition which was broken because of an act that will test not just their beliefs but will also determine the future of their culture. The film is enveloped in the story’s mysticism which is atmospheric. Everything looks polished from production design to story and direction. Its mystery keeps the film interesting from start to finish and the final product is something masterful and a story worth telling.

The 12th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival stills runs at the CCP Theaters, Glorietta 4, Greenbelt 1, TriNoma, Fairview Terraces, U.P. Town Center, Solenad Nuvali and at Ayala Mall Cebu.

For more information, you can go to their website at:

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