Birdshot Gives Life To A New Breed Of Pinoy Cinema
Mikhail Red’s newest feature is more than meets the eye
It doesn’t matter if you prefer the light-hearted romantic comedies or the hard-hitting indie films of Pinoy Cinema – chances are you can appreciate both ends of the spectrum. And while there have been arguments about what movies should be highlighted to the public, there seems to be hardly any debate about Mikhail Red’s latest feature, Birdshot.
The resounding statement? It’s a masterpiece.
Birdshot follows the story of Diego Mariano (Manuel Acquino), a caretaker in a sanctuary for our beloved Philippine Eagle and his daughter, 14-year-old Maya. At the brink of adolescence and without her mother to guide her, Maya wants to explore the world beyond their small shanty. But being a practical man, Diego chooses to teach her how to be self-sufficient.
After fumbling with her first shot, Maya mistakenly kills a haribon.
Screenshot via YouTube/Pelikuka Red
Then there is Domingo (Arnold Reyes), a rookie cop that is eager to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a busload of farmers that were making their way to Manila with grievances about unfair treatment. Soon after, he is told to stop sniffing around and focus on finding the body of the haribon and its killer.
As the life of his wife is threatened, Domingo eventually concedes. As if to prove his loyalty to the force, he acts violently to Domingo, who they have arrested on the pretense of questioning. Domingo ends up in a cell with inmates who are planning their escape.
Screenshot viaYouTube/Pelikuka Red
On the surface, Birdshot is beautifully captured. The stark contrast of Maya’s flight amidst the greenery and Domingo’s life in a gray prison is almost painful but necessary. As the audience, we’re introduced to the love that a father has for his child and how a husband loves his wife. We’re forced to see what people will do in order to survive.
But beneath the calm – if you can call it that – is something so much more. The symbolisms that Red draws on are courageous, on point and incredibly relevant.
Birdshot is not a film you can watch with a closed mind. It will force your eyes open.