PAMILYA ORDINARYO by Eduardo Roy, Jr.
Jane (Killip) and Aries (Martin), a teenager couple living in the streets with a new born son and steals for a living. But one day, the wheel of fate has turned as their son gets stolen from them. And things get worse as people try to help them but only put them in situations more dangerous than they already were.
The most powerful entry from the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, the Eduardo Roy, Jr film isn’t a perfect film but its story is easily the one that makes the biggest impact among all 9 entries but that’s of course because of its gritty story and the realistic approach of the film.
You might know Ronwaldo Martin as Coco Martin’s younger brother, but he does make his brother proud with Pamilya Ordinaryo. Hasmine Killip on the other hand, doesn’t have any big names to be connected to, but her first work, a short film titled Junilyn Has earned her praises for her performance. The two are perfect for their roles, Martin and Killip shines, without a doubt not just in the movie but in the whole festival.
I AMERICA by Ivan Andrew Payawal
Ivan Andrew Payawal’s “I America” starring Bela Padilla is a good kind of mess, because however loud or messy its story goes at times, it knows where its heart is.
The film is about Erica (Padilla), an aspiring model/actress who has a drunkard mother and a foreigner father who she has contacted for years now. She’s one of the Amerasians in Pampanga who was conceived because of the work of their mothers which is prostituting. But as she applies for US Visa, she discovers that her mother gave her the wrong last name of the father which she’s already in good terms with. To make it worse, the American father surprisingly shows up at her house. She struggles in keeping her secret as she tackles the problems of her and the people around her and ultimately get things right in the end.
It’s funny, definitely. The cast pulls off most of its comedic scenes and its characters has that charms of a family we are familiar of. Bela Padilla confidently carries the whole film with her can-do character even if her world turned upside down with the problems she gets. While the cast does an amazing job with whatever their character does, the story feels like it tries to go somewhere but goes back and settled for something average. It has got some points to say but what it shouts out isn’t what its heart wants scream.
MERCURY IS MINE by Jason Paul Laxamana
From 2013’s Babagwa, director Jason Paul Laxamana is back in the Cinemalaya game with “Mercury is Mine.” It is the most entertaining film out of the 9 full-length entries which boasts not just top-notch acting from Pokwang and Bret Jackson but it’s also well-directed and flawlessly edited. You don’t know what you’re in for while watching the film which makes it a wild and exciting ride.
Carmen (Pokwang) runs a not so successful eatery just near Mt. Arayat where tourists go and look for a hidden treasure. One rainy night, an American boy named Mercury (Jackson) arrived in front of her house, looking for sanctuary at least until the rain stops. But Mercury lured more customers for Carmen’s eatery, so Carmen let Mercury stay with her and the two gets this weird motherly and sometimes romantic bond as they get to know more about each other. But mysteries to each characters start to unfold, and Mercury’s opportunities outside the reach of Carmen makes things even more complicated.
It’s something fresh, you get to be part of something familiar but still you’re in for a guessing game on how the story of Carmen and Mercury will go. Like Laxamana’s first Cinemalaya entry Babagwa, “Mercury is Mine” deals with something we Filipinos are guilty of, prioritizing or giving special treatment to foreigners, whether they are American or other race, most especially whiter people. It’s a bad habit, but we get to go there one way or another. But what Mercury is Mine did is add more to it, not just your typical foreign and local characters get to meet in an inconvenient situation but gets to add more flavour with every twist the characters and story unfolds.
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.
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