Growing up, most of us were exposed to films that can be seen in our local theaters, where the trailers are mostly on repeat at the produced television network and that’s where we usually get our scope of films. Delving deeper in the cinematic world, the world of Philippine independent cinema will introduce us the kind of cinematic experience we need, tackling the stories we have yet to see on film, and acquaint us with the new waves of how films are produced, old subject matter or not.
The Philippine Independent Cinema scene is not unknown, it has been voicing out the genius-ness of our reeled world from across the archipelago, it is just unraveling and preparing us all for the truth we need.
1. Ang Nawawala // What Isn’t There (2012)
The story revolves around Gibson who chooses not to talk (mute by choice) after being a bare witness to his brother’s horrific incident. After studying abroad, he then goes back to Manila and lives life as normally as he tries and as he could, but with more thrill and meaning to what has been, accompanied by his new friends.
This film, seen from the poster and the film stills (with its retro-hipster-ish-artistic vibe) is visually astounding. The films musical score was named to be the best in their category and I couldn’t agree more. They even released a vinyl record for the intense lovers of their soundtrack with the highest quality for it.
I present to you Ang Nawawalang Soundtrack available on Spotify. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
2. K'na; The Dreamweaver (2014)
A folktale come to life. Set in the beautiful place of Agusan Del Norte and revolves around the T’boli tribe, K’na (Kana) makes a choice that will be best for the peace of their tribes. Taken with breath-taking cinematography, this film exhibits the beauty of the country and our culture. This film is absolute simplicity, and will leave you with the cute kilig smiles at the end, but hey, the little things make the huge impacts right?
3. Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros // The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros (2005
Maxie, living in the slum areas of Manila, is being raised by his father & brothers, experiences a one-of-its-kind puppy love that will make him choose between the cop he admires or his family (of thieves). This movie doesn’t focus on the homosexuality of Maxie, which could be the usual topic & breakthrough point of any movie at that time but it made its grandest breakthrough that being it on a different note. This is a story for the puppy love we had and eventually lost, and how we grew from them.
4. Serbis // Service (2008)
One of the most talked-about films of its time. Serbis is a film about a family who owns (and lives in) a movie house and how in secrecy, movies aren't just the ones being paid for. Amidst the nudity and explicit visuals, this film doesn’t just revolve around sexual happenings but rather how the family uses gay-sex services as one of the methods to raise themselves up, earn money, and provide for their needs. This film tackles more important issues than what we thought it does: societal issues, dysfunctional family issues, sexual orientations and how people handle them. This film is very graphic, but it does help tell the story in a straightforward manner.
5. Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita // Anita’s Last Cha-Cha (2013)
6. Bwaya // Crocodile (2014)
Real-life story of a mother’s grief and lingering acceptance of her daughter’s death, set in Agusan Del Sur. The film sets a mood of grief and the uncertain cause of the death of Rowena. This film is cinematography-triumphant and the dark and mysterious take on the setting gives the exact amount the film wants the audience to feel. The mystery and doubt of Divina on her daughter’s death goes in accordance with it. If possible, this minimalistic approach shouts a loud voice the audience wants to hear and that is the mystery of the film that will make you watch it more than once.
7. Transit (2013)
Mostly shot in Israel, this film was based on a true story of OFWs in Israel happening at the time when the Israel government decided to deport the children of the immigrant workers. Spinning around the lives of Moises and fellow Filipino neighbor Janet, they do their best to hide their children away from deportation. This film shows the hardships of OFWs and their will to keep their family alive and living a life worth not giving up on. This film shows the Filipinos’ known trait of being family-oriented, that whatever happens, families have to stay together.
8. Dagitab // Sparks (2014)
A well-written story about the twists and turns of the lives of a couple, whose marriage is on the brink of destruction. The matter of the divorce and affairs are no original content but this film shows you how it’s best done. Not enough words to describe this film, but the narration and the dialogue, it’s somehow #hugot-worthy (even the creative visual as shown by this wall here).
The twists and turns from the start will unravel in to a heart-warming ending.
9. 1st ko si 3rd (2014)
A story about the life and love of lola Cora. A quite different take on the first loves we all had and we will have. Already on her retirement days, lola Cora one day, crosses paths with her past love Third, and sort of rekindles her feelings for him and the thought of them having that one last shot of love again, repainting the whole story of her marriage. This film, along with its wit and the genuine happiness it brings us, really shows us the weight of appreciation of the time we have, for the moments of what was, what will be, and the undying enigma of love, whatever the cause may be.
10. Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa // The Dance of Two Left Feet (2011)
“You’ll swear on to the River Styx that you will catch every film showing of local films and try to skip classes just to attend the showing of films in the independent film festivals (uh, let’s try not to skip our classes though) to witness what they have brought for the world to see.” – Me on how the Filipino independent films will move you.
click photos for sources