Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Condensed from:
Festival Report: QCinema International Film Festival 2016 (Part 2)




Kristian Cordero’s Hinulid stars Nora Aunor as a woman bringing the ashes of her recently murdered son back to a small village in Bicol where truth and myth seem inseparable. Throughout her long train ride through the darkness, past and present mix freely, her memories breaking through the shroud of her present reality as she tries to come to grips with the pain that she’s feeling.

The film immediately establishes a very poetic tone. The opening scenes introduce motifs that will run through the entire movie. There’s clearly been a lot of thought put into all of this, but the end product is kind of a real slog. My good will for this film ran out about forty-five minutes in. At that point, it felt like the film was just throwing in one abstraction after the next, putting way too much stock in the power of its symbols. One can’t fault the film for its ambition. The scope of what it’s trying to cover is certainly admirable; the story touching on grand themes that study the intersection between faith and myth and culture and the ways that all three can be suppressed. But the back half of this film just becomes exhausting, offering so little to hold on to. And the thing is, the film is really good in its simplest scenes. The most affecting scene, for my money, is a very low-key sequence where the main character is playing a game of shooting stars by herself, her son no longer there to play with her. That one scene speaks more eloquently about the emotion of this story than the rest of the film.

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