Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Making the List and Checking It Twice

What I really liked about this recent filmfest is that, unlike previous years, there appears to be not one film that's expected to rake in majority of the awards. The decision to up the number of entries to nine is a good move. Sure, producers may complain about lesser earnings, but it should encourage them to produce better films, as that's what the Filipino audience will settle for in that crucial Christmas week.

My peeve, albeit a very minor one, concerns how some talents appear in more than one film. Alessandra de Rossi is in Homecoming and Mano Po 2. Raymond Bagatsing is in Filipinas and Crying Ladies. Erik Matti directs both Gagamboy and Mano Po 2.

For those who don't already know, here are the recent winners of the 29th Metro Manila Filmfest:

Best Picture: Crying Ladies
Second Best Picture: Mano Po 2
Third Best Picture: Filipinas

Crying Ladies very much deserved this award. If you haven't see it, please do so. It'll give you added hope for the Philippine Movie Industry. Mano Po 2 is much much better than the last year's Mano Po. And Filipinas, well... moving on...

Gatpuno Antonio Villegas Cultural Award: Filipinas
People’s Choice Award: Mano Po 2
Gender Sensitive Award: Homecoming

A "gender sensitive" award? Which gender are we referring to?

Best Director: Mark Meily for Crying Ladies
Best Screenplay: Roy Iglesias for Filipinas
Best Story: Lily Monteverde and Roy Iglesais for Mano Po 2

I'm not too hot about the script of Filipinas, given its occasional forays into this-is-what's-wrong-this-country dialogue. Whatever happened to the "show, not tell" rule? Crying Ladies would have been a better choice in my book.

Best Actor: Eric Quizon in Crying Ladies
Best Actress: Maricel Soriano in Filipinas
Best Supporting Actor: Victor Neri in Filipinas
Best Supporting Actress: Hilda Koronel in Crying Ladies
Best Child Performance: Julio Pacheco in Crying Ladies

I've only seen four filmfest entries (Crying Ladies, Mano Po 2, Filipinas, and Gagamboy), so my comments on these categories are hampered by lack of first-hand knowledge. Eric Quizon was effective in his portrayal as a man coming to terms with his role in the family as the eldest son, while dealing with his hatred for his late father. Though there's not much of a obvious resolution to his character, Quizon's performance is commendable.

While Maricel Soriano does well as the eldest daughter shouldering the responsibility of taking care of the family matriarch, she plays her character in pretty much the Soriano way. But I'd give the award to her over Sharon Cuneta or Lorna Tolentino, as Soriano's angst is palpable in her silence, and the process of her character's transformation isn't as jarring as the other two's.

Victor Neri's recognition for his understated performance as the activist son in Filipinas gets my nod, though I'd rather see Zsazsa Padilla get the supporting actress plum. While Padilla and Koronel are delights to watch in their respective films, Padilla's character and portrayal lend heavily to the flow of the story of Mano Po 2.

People’s Choice Best Actor: Richard Gomez in Filipinas
People’s Choice Best Actress: Sharon Cuneta in Crying Ladies

Can't argue with the people.

Best Cinematography: J.A. Tadena for Mano Po 2
Best Sound Recording: Mike Idioma for Malikmata
Best Editing: Lito Cajili for Malikmata
Best Make-up: Fantasticman

Best Musical Score: Francis Guevarra and Ferdie Marquez for Malikata
Best Song: “Isang Pagtanaw” from Homecoming

If there was an award for best production design, I'm going for the world-detached rural microcosm in Gagamboy over the other films I've seen. I'll try to catch Captain Barbell to make comparisons.

All this, of course, coming from someone who thinks he knows enough to pass judgment.

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