50/50 (Mikey Red)
Concept-driven. Duality of a character and escapism are played out rather extendedly. Could stand a trim. Digging deeper, young Red’s deftness with the technical aspects of filmmaking is complemented here with surefooted dramatization of a blue-collar worker – maybe us – who is tired of his routine and sees no hope thus resorts to daydreaming. Until realization pulls him back to reality, makes him kill his other half, his dreams.
Death Squad Dogs (Josemaria Basa)
Hit men story. What makes this tick is its 180-degree projection of the two characters, starting from their lighthearted interaction until the inevitable pulling of trigger.
Lola (Joey Agbayani)
Amateurish in all directions.
Galimgim (Cristina Santiago)
Its attempt at narrative and scriptwriting is belied by the triteness of its story. This is salvaged by technical dexterity (editing, cinematography).
Buog (Rommel D. Tolentino)
Harrowing without trying. Could be an advocacy film only that it doesn’t feel like one. The levity of the playful interaction between two helpless boys defies the alarming situation they are in.
Prologue to the Great Desaperecido (Lav Diaz)
Your approach to this film depends on where your loyalties lie. If you’re a Lav fan, you’ll easily get swayed, otherwise you’ll look close enough and see that all that is going for it is it making a rationale for Bonifacio being the first case of desaperecido. Past that, it has none more to say. Past that, it is the same old Lav: one-note characters, panoramic views, grand theme, broad strokes, amplified sound. Meaning, as expected, as predicted. What this short doesn’t have is the pervading sad atmosphere of his longer work (Siglo, Melancholia), may be Lav indeed needs big canvass, timewise, to get through even the simplest of his points? With short timeframe, as proven from this short, his resort is to intellectualize (or rationalize is the more apt term?) to make up and augment for the lack of space. The result, you get his point rather than you feel it.
Anino (Raymond Red)
Not only for its decoration (hey, Palme d’Or, folks!), but more so for its quality (easily, handily the best of the short films lineup). Not a fan of Red’s full-length work (find Kamera Obskura and Himpapawid rather insipid and pushy) but this short is enlivened with crisp dialogues, intelligent screenplay, fine performances (Larazo and Arcilla are each other’s counterpoint), assured direction and, who would forget that Yano’s Banal na Aso, Santong Kabayo wrap-up right after the film’s punch at the end. This certainly deserves to be the finale of the lot. Finale, men! Nuff said.