Armando 'Bing' Lao first feature film is being unleashed today as part of the Cinemanila International Film Festival. It's particularly significant because Mr. Lao, who has written many of our modern cinematic masterpieces, is hailed as the mentor for many of our award-winning filmmakers today, including Brillante Mendoza, Jeffrey Jeturian, Francis X. Pasion, Jay Altarejos, and many others. Here's the synopsis of the film:
A bus takes off from urban Manila to the rustic southeastern side of the country, carrying a motley group of passengers from all walks of life, each one with a personal story to tell and telling it in their own voice. During the long journey, as the passengers mentally sort out their past and their future, things happen in the present, by choice or by providence, that make the journey memorable—the bus blows a tire, a song elicits tears, a butterfly causes commotion, a photograph gets lost, a head is stoned, some hearts are broken, some mended. The bus ride poetizes the life journey and poses questions on issues of life and death and where exactly the line is drawn between free will and destiny.
The cast is superb, and includes such acting stalwarts of independent cinema, including Jaclyn Jose, Julio Diaz, Coco Martin, Angel Aquino, Sharmaine Buencamino, Mercedes Cabral, Allan Paule, Andoy Ranay, and Eugene Domingo.
Mr. Lao notes: "The voice-over device allows me to take a glimpse of the inner lives of the passenger characters as their minds wander off into streams of consciousness. It offers me an opportunity to use an impressionistic approach to film that acknowledges spoken language as the logical medium for telling a story and in a form that only voice-overs could effectively fulfill. In Biyaheng Lupa, I believe that only the use of language, together with occasional sound effects and music, can unify exposition and capture the immediacy of the characters’ random and intrusive thoughts."
The screening schedule for October 19 is at 8 PM, and at 4:30 PM on October 23, both at Cinema 6.