The Must-See Movies At The 2017 Metro Manila Film Festival
Which of the eight #MMFF2017 entries are worth your hard-earned money?
From its beginnings marked by an initially ingenious idea to put local films in the spotlight to its unfortunate refusal to grasp the opportunity to elevate the taste of the Filipino masses, the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) has, on paper, come a long way: ever evolving and ever controversial in the process.
The annual film festival will return on Christmas Day with eight movies slated to show in cinemas nationwide until January 7. The entries this year were measured against a strict, idealistic set of criteria where “commercial viability” was deemed just as valuable as artistic excellence (which says a lot about the current state of the Filipino film industry); both these made up 40% of the criteria in the lineup’s initial vetting process. The “promotion of Filipino cultural and historic values” took up 10% and “global appeal” made up the last 10%.
The films that made the cut are “Ang Panday,” “Deadma Walking,” “Ganddarrapiddo! The Revenger Squad,” “Siargao,” “All of You,” “Haunted Forest,” “Meant to Beh,” and “Ang Larawan.” The titles alone preview a varied crop of films where there must be something for everyone. That’s the hope of MMFF Selection Committee chairperson Bienvenido Lumbera, at least. “Indie movies last year were purely for cinematic values whereas this year we involved the audience for movies that we selected,” he said. So, what will this year’s MMFF have in store for viewers? Should we enter the cinema expecting a movie to double as a lengthy commercial featuring various brands that sponsored the film? Will the festival feature the same, tired and recycled plotlines? Could this year be the year we outgrow slapstick comedy?
You can watch the complete lineup of movies to find out or save yourself the time and money and hold out only for the promising ones. Here, The Must-See Movies At The 2017 Metro Manila Film Festival.
On filming in Siargao, director Paul Soriano said in a Facebook post: “Having been to Siargao many times before this film, I had an idea of what Siargao meant to me and that’s how I told this story. My approach to this film was to tell a story as freely as possible, to be scared and unfamiliar, to be challenged but to find ways to overcome it, to be raw and organic, to love and let it be, and most importantly to have fun, be a child again. I believe when you watch this film, you’ll just see how much fun we all had!”
Watch this if you loved “Patay Na Si Hesus,” “Die Beautiful,” and “Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank.” “Deadma Walking” documents the journey of Mark (Edgar Allan Guzman), a fun-loving gay man, who decides to take matters into his own hands instead of refusing to be the victim of his circumstances…even if it involves coming to terms with a terminal illness. His friend John (Joross Gamboa) stands by him as he fakes his own death to attend his own wake.
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All Of You
Jennylyn Mercado and Derek Ramsay, stars of the 2014 flick “English Only, Please,” reunite for another charming rom-com by director Dan Villegas. Gab (played by Ramsay) and Gabby (played by Mercardo) are two polar opposites who hit things off on their blind date and fall in love. Will their opposing views on love and marriage take a toll on their relationship three years in?
Producer Girlie Rodis calls this their team’s “love letter to the Filipinos” and it’s the one to watch this year. “Ang Larawan: The Musical” is the film adaptation of the celebrated three-act play by National Artist for Literature, Nick Joaquin entitled, “A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino.” Set in Pre-World War II Old Manila, the musical follows high society life and the story of the Marasigan sisters, Candida and Paula, portrayed masterfully by Joanna Ampil and Rachel Alejandro.
Following the much raved about premiere of “Ang Larawan” at the 30th Tokyo International Film Festival, Variety movie critic Richard Kuipers wrote: “Clearly made with the utmost love and care, “The Portrait” is beautifully decorated and top-notch in every technical detail.”
Head out and support local movies when MMFF season begins, but more importantly, help secure the future of Filipino cinema by supporting independent films and artists all year ‘round!