Ang Katiwala (Aloy Adlawan, 2012)
The scenes between Trillo and Lazaro, bantering to while away the time, are priceless. It is so refreshing to finally see Lazaro in a ‘human being’ role, so far from his usual roles where he is always required to be enigmatic. Lazaro is lovable, lovable here. Unfortunately, the film is too riddled with holes as big as the abandoned property Trillo is taking care of.
Kalayaan (Adolfo Alix Jr, 2012)
If anything, Kalayaan is a well-directed piece. Bold and daring; reminiscent of Alix’s previous effort, Liberacion, only this is more gripping.
Posas (Lawrence Fajardo, 2012)
Fajardo’s Posas is a companion piece to Mendoza’s Kinatay. Not better – no, it doesn’t have the radical treatment of Kinatay – but worthy, nonetheless. The stakes here are higher. The continuum is not as simple as from innocence to guilt, from broad daylight to pitch black, from good to evil. The contrast is blurred. A snatcher, therefore bad, is put through a downward spiral to hell. The range is shrank, from bad to worse, from callousness to pure evil. Posas is posing a question: how a heartless thief can still be affected by a viciousness he is expected to hurdle through? There is moral ambiguity here (read: not simplistic).
And I have to add, John Lapus IS brilliant here!
Sta. Nina (Emmanuel Quindo Palo, 2012)
It is brave of Palo to risk Sta Nina being compared to Bernal’s Himala, because more likely than not, he is bound to pale in comparison. And rightly so. While there is occasional visual ableness in there, it just doesn’t hold up. Bernal is way, way sophisticated, even for an homage such as this.
Marilou Diaz Abaya: Filmmaker on a Voyage (Lisa Yuchengco, 2012)
This is how NOT to do a documentary. Rather than give a thorough background on the subject, filmmaker Marilou Diaz-Abaya, it puts her in a bad light instead: she appears overeager to be associated with the late Bernal and Brocka. It just leaves a bad aftertaste.