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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Saturday, May 16, 2020

entry arrow10:00 AM | The Film Meme No. 22



[22nd of 100]. It took quite a while to see this 2007 movie, years after its release in fact. [The one constant in Philippine cinema is its poor distribution, which has contributed in immeasurable ways to its curious lack of wider appreciation. It is truly ironic that a Filipino cineaste will have more access to ... say, Albanian films than Filipino films. Unless you live in Manila, of course.] In the time that it took to finally reach me, it had evolved to a kind of magical starting point for several things: that this was the calling card to the industry that soon "made" one of its co-directors, leading to such films as Heneral Luna and Goyo; that this essentially jumpstarted the rebirth of Cebuano cinema, leading to the influx to the mainstream the likes of Ara Chawdhury, Remton Zuasola, Christian Linaban, Keith Deligero, Victor Villanueva, Maria Victoria Beltran, Chai Fonacier, and many others; that its powerful reception was an early marker for the eventual cumulative success of the Cinema One Originals. Its reputation was sterling and remote, but sight unseen I couldn't care less -- until I finally saw it, admittedly in bootleg copy, and was soon overwhelmed by its power: it was precise, it was exquisitely told, it was defiant in its message. None of these are diminished by the obviously low budget aesthetics, which adds only to the documentary feel of the thing. What is the story? A young filmmaker goes to Cebu to document the Sinulog Festival, and unwittingly encounters a local politician who taps him to record his confessions of misdeeds while in office. The result is a shock to the system. All told, the movie earns very much all its plaudits, and as a starting point to the new golden age of Cebuano cinema, it also earns our thanks. What's the film?

For the introduction to this meme, read here.

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