By: John Tawasil
There's a certain kind of lyricality in the interconnected scenes of Kristian Cordero's Hinulid; with its non-linear, almost abstract narrative, the work feels more like a poem than a film. Collectively, its themes limn a cinematic pieta, a mother searching her memories for the meaning behind her son's seemingly meaningless death. These memories are interspersed with religious iconography, treatises on law, justice, and flashbacks. The film ends up loosely constructed as a result.
Nora Aunor's star shines among her fellow actors, giving us a spectrum of emotions, at times impenetrable, at times vulnerable. It's always a treat to see her in action, although without an equally formidable foil her co-actors pale in comparison.
While the film's poetry holds for most of the running time, the work starts to crumble under its own weight during the last half hour, as it tries to tackle too many things. During this period we see several scenes where the film could have ended perfectly, but didn't. The end result proves exhausting as the film tries to include as much as it can into an already full package.
Despite that, the film's poetry cannot be denied, and certain scenes prove mesmerizing. Parts of Hinulid can be quite challenging, but the rewards may be worth it in the end.