Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Cinema One Originals Festival (10th Edition) will be on November 09 to 18, 2014.  Screenings of Adolfo Borinaga Alix Jr.'s KINABUKASAN, starring Rosanna Roces, Alden Richards, and Ms. Nora Aunor; under the "Short Film Program"

Philippine Premiere:

Glorietta 4, Cinema 1
November 10 (Monday), 4:50 PM

Other Screenings:

Trinoma Cinema 1
November 11, 4:50 PM
November 14, 2:40 PM

Greenhills Promenade Cinema 6

November 12, 2:30 PM
(Screening with the Cast)

November 15, 1:40 PM

Fairview Terraces, Cinema 2

November 11, 3:00 PM
November 12, 9:10 PM

Glorietta 4, Cinema 1

November 11, 10:00 PM
November 15, 12:00 noon
November 18, 12:30 PM

KINABUKASAN (THE DAY AFTER) will have a world premiere at the 
Screening will be on November 30 at 4:00 pm at The Salon, National Museum of Singapore.


An older woman is moving on from a painful loss, when a link to the past shows up. The young man has questions that she has to help him find answers for.

Adolfo Borinaga Alix Jr.
Adolfo Borinaga Alix Jr started out as a screenwriter, for film and television, before directing his first feature Donsol (2006). It went on to become the Philippines’ official submission to the Academy Award

Friday, October 31, 2014

Social ills and personal contradictions

Film Review: HUSTISYA

Aunor’s topnotch acting, Lamangan’s directing prowess and Lee’s masterly script highlight

By Rachelle Cruz

With nearly 400 films in the roster, the 39th annual Toronto International Film Festival kicked off Sept. 4 to 14. This year, three films from the Philippines made the cut: Lav Diaz’s What is Before, Carlos Siguion-Reyna’s Where I am King, and celebrated filmmaker Joel Lamangan’s Hustisya.

 “It’s an honour to be invited in such a festival, because it becomes a show window of my film. A show window of the truth that I would like to be said about the country, and it’s always an open opportunity to say so, an opportunity given not to everybody,” Lamangan said. It’s not the first for this veteran Filipino director to have his film premiere internationally at TIFF. Thirteen years ago,  his film Hubog was one of the Filipino entries.

Aided by top-notch cast and veteran actress Ms. Nora Aunor and Ricky Lee’s script, the social realist flick is a harsh commentary on the perpetual corruption, criminality, and injustices that unfold within the nitty-gritty set of Manila. Nora Aunor plays a faithful and loyal servant to this outrageously wealthy woman (played by Rosanna Roces), blindly serving her, while she gets pulled in the dark world of human trafficking and sex slavery. Many layers of symbolism surfaced throughout the scenes that underscore the hypocrisy of people, either out of desperation, or out of greed, or out of poverty, crystallized by the many hands that exchanged using the white envelope to illustrate how ‘blood money’ or under the table’ ‘bayad’ can buy you power, buy you a life, or take one.

“Well it’s a comment on people who do not say anything.   Who just accept anything that they see. Corruption is you know, it’s in the Philippines.  Wherever you go, from the very, very lowest political strata which is the Barangay to the upper strata which is the highest form of governance, there’s corruption.   And people should be talking, people should be discussing it, it should not be hidden,” Lamangan said matter-of-factly.

The first ten minutes of the film already introduces the audience to the world of human trafficking, of young girls being fooled to think they will be working abroad to reach a better life, but in turn, the film demonstrates that they are hot commodities for sex slavery, for the reaping of wealthy elite benefactors who perpetuate the dangerous and hellish cycle. Biring (Nora Aunor) is caught in that cycle, first as a passive outsider, then later becoming an active participant in trafficking. She often catches herself in a personal struggle of staying loyal to the game and surviving, or breaking out, and potentially endangering not only her life, but also her loved ones.

Lamangan reunites with Nora Aunor, but this time, he explained that she doesn’t play the heroine, “It’s always an experience, it’s always a new experience because through the years she has aged, and just like an old wine, she has become better and better as an actress. And in Hustisya this is the first time that she’ll be doing a role that she has not done in her career.  Here, she’s not a positive character, here, she’s a part of an underground movement, is a part of a syndicate that’s doing human trafficking,” Lamangan said.

The general consensus from audience reactions show that Lamangan’s film was well-directed, and that main star had an outstanding performance. But the heavy scenes that painted the suffering and desperation lingering on the streets of Manila, of people living in abject poverty, of the women behind bars, of crooked lawyers playing within the confines of a warped justice system, of children starving, juxtaposed to wealthy priests and churches, of affluent families and endless parties, for many the film was too much to take.

“Yeah I enjoyed it, but I cannot swallow it, for what is you know, going on in the Philippines. But I know it’s true. I know that’s what’s going on, I know it’s true especially the politicians,” Percie Inacay said.

“I did like the film, it’s a riveting movie and Nora Aunor’s performance as usual is fantastic. You know it makes me sad to know that this kind of thing is still happening in the Philippines,” Evelyn Pagkalinawan added.

“Bakit ganun? Hindi magagandang lugar ang pinakikita. At saka, it’s too much. You know like, it’s mostly negative things about the Philippines, there’s nothing positive about it but anyway it was really well-directed and the actress was really great,” Susan Llanera, another film-goer, expressed in frustration.

The film is eligible for the Grolsch People’s Choice Award.  But like it or not, Lamangan’s film wants to make a point.



Nora Aunor gets Best Actress nod at 8th Asia Pacific Screen Awards

By Aries Joseph Hegina

MANILA, Philippines — Veteran Nora Aunor was nominated anew for the Best Performance of an Actress award in the 8th Asia Pacific Screen Awards for her role as a human trafficker in Joel Lamangan’s political-drama film, “Hustisya”.

Aunor’s nomination was announced Tuesday in a ceremony at the Treasury Casino and Hotel in Brisbane, Australia.

This is Aunor’s second nomination accorded to her by the Asia Pacific Screen Academy after she was nominated and won the Best Actress award for her performance in Brillante Mendoza’s “Thy Womb” in 2012.

Aunor will be competing with Ronnit Elkabetz from Israel, Lü Zhong from China, Tang Wei from China and Merila Zareie from Iran.

Aside from Aunor, Giancarlo Abrahan was also nominated for the Best Screenplay award for his film “Dagitab” (Sparks).

“Hustisya” and “Dagitab” were both screened during the 10th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival last August.

The Asia Pacific Screen Awards is touted the “Oscars of the Pacific” where it recognizes cinematic excellence in the “world’s fastest growing film region”.

The winners will be announced in an Awards Night in Australia on December 11.




Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dementia: Into the dark, racking realm of paranoia

Film Review:  DEMENTIA

By Arvin Mendoza

““Dementia” is heart-wrenching poetry in picture. Its visual verses beguile the senses to absorb the character’s prosaic state, rhymed with its aural rhythms lulling the terror that looms ahead.”




MANILA, Philippines—Filmed in ethereal color and yet imbued with a spine-chilling atmosphere, Percival Intalan’s “Dementia” successfully thrusts the viewers into the dark, racking realm of paranoia.

As Intalan’s directorial debut, it spares no one—the moment they step out the theater—from wondering about the malefic prospects if such cognitive impairment hits them over time.

The movie evidently swerves from old-hat, cut-and-dried storylines that many scary movies offer. It is apparent Intalan wants to evade this usual drawback by creating a grisly dramatic tableau painting the life of Mara Fabre (Nora Aunor), a semi-retired teacher that has been struggling with dementia.

The attempt to remedy her mental decay becomes the narrative dawn, the point that leads to the restitution of her weeping past.

And Batanes couldn’t be a better place of gloom.

A sad poetry

The unadulterated and breath-taking landscape of the province welcomes Mara as she returns to her old house, with the help of her cousin, Elaine (Bing Loyzaga).

Elaine, together with her husband Rommel (Yul Servo) and daughter Rachel (Jasmine Curtis-Smith), takes the responsibility of attending to the needs of Mara, whose mind has become warped by a troubling infirmity.

“Dementia” is heart-wrenching poetry in picture. Its visual verses beguile the senses to absorb the character’s prosaic state, rhymed with its aural rhythms lulling the terror that looms ahead.

One might say that the film revolves much around Mara’s history, and that the other characters’ personal backgrounds are not explored. But it seems to be Intalan’s pure intention.

Mara’s homecoming triggers the unspooling of her dreadful memories. She starts to hallucinate, ecstatically following a miscreant little girl every time she sees the latter. At this point, she turns the delusion into reality; the apparition, unbeknownst to her, banefully portends an imminent danger.

Perhaps due to the time constraints, the focus on Mara is what the film only needs throughout its entire duration.

While “Dementia” gets short of narrative layers among its main characters, the revelation surrounding Mara’s past compensated for anything that lacks. The effectual brunt of her haunting memories is enough to rip the bones with crippling strength.

Gritty performances

Servo’s confrontation with Aunor is short, and unnecessary. It surely tips off a bitter history between the two, but such isn’t completely explained. It just leaves the viewers in the doldrums, curious about a certain conflict that happened before.

The film could have developed more an additional speck of drama with that storyline. But still, Servo’s portrayal of an agitated, cranky father is quite convincing.

Loyzaga’s natural flair also adds up to the ominous thrill of the movie. Her calculated role spices up the heavy tension among the family, bolstering the main predicament up to the climax.

Despite her insipid lines and bored attitude on the early parts of the film, Jasmine Curtis-Smith as Rachel proves herself worthy as she becomes entangled in the maelstrom of events.

Curtis-Smith is able to make much of her nuanced act just in time when her character fully commits in the story.

Of course, the sterling performance of Nora Aunor never disappoints. Her personal tragedy serves as the leverage in which the diabolical mood of the film lies.

Even with only few dialogues, her deep visage projects the whole tapestry of her dim, fragile mind. At many instances, she effortlessly gesticulates Mara’s leanings and dispositions. Her abysmal eyes boldly shout her soul’s remorse, solitude, fear and throes altogether, especially on one particular scene at the cemetery.

Looking glass

Much can be said from Intalan’s exploit of Batanes’ sprawling terra firma, where steep boulders and cliffs provide a powerful dismal ambience for the film. Every earthy element was greatly captured—the swash of the billowing waves, the whoosh of the mournful wind, the hum of creatures hovering over the firmament.

With a baffling twist at the end, the film inadvertently posits itself as a subtle looking glass, where one can look through a person’s troubled brain.
“Dementia” may not be as solidly horrifying as it can be, but it does disturb the deep recesses of the psyche more than anything else.

‘Dementia’ packs a solid emotional wallop

Film Frview:  DEMENTIA

By Eric T. Cabahug

“Dementia is that rare Filipino horror drama that packs a solid emotional wallop. You won’t forget it soon after leaving the theater. A lot of it has to do with debuting filmmaker Perci Intalan’s mostly firm grip on his material and his relatively sophisticated approach in presenting it.”



“Dementia” is that rare Filipino horror drama that packs a solid emotional wallop. You won’t forget it soon after leaving the theater.

A lot of it has to do with debuting filmmaker Perci Intalan’s mostly firm grip on his material and his relatively sophisticated approach in presenting it. The former TV5 executive does not reinvent the horror wheel by any means. Rather he spins it very deftly and very efficiently all around.

So that when the all-too familiar scares, or scare tactics, come, and there are plenty (candles blowing out by themselves, doors shutting on their own, ghosts appearing from behind, ghosts coming at people very deliberately, menacingly), each serves its purpose of providing genuine jolts.

But jolts alone do not an effective horror movie make. Environment and atmosphere are the real keys. And here is where Intalan’s bigger achievement lies.

With excellent work by his cinematographer, production designer, and musical scorer, he was able to provide the kind of space of building mystery and escalating dread that the tale his writers gave him required.

This is fully captured in the main friction that drives and ignites the movie — its vision of Batanes, where the story is set, as a place of terrifying wintry beauty and the fiery psychological wounds that consume the heart and mind of the story’s central character.

That would be Mara, an elderly woman grappling with an early onset of dementia that leaves her unable to remember much. But when a (literal and figurative) ghost from her traumatic distant past comes to haunt her and the only living family she has, the memories come crashing violently like strong waves hitting the jagged rocks along Batanes’ seaside cliffs.

Nora Aunor totally matches the swirling forces of nature on display throughout the movie with a dervish of a performance that involves very little spoken dialogue.

It’s mostly ferociously internal until the devastating climax where, still wordless, her face erupts into a panorama of heartbreak, anguish, sorrow, guilt, regret, terror, and, finally, resignation and surrender. It’s unforgettable.

The movie is far from perfect and the epilogue, which either affirms the story’s vision or turns it on its head, may be too ambiguous for its own good. No matter. “Dementia,” anchored by another genius turn from Aunor under Intalan’s surefooted, confident direction, will stay with you.