SYNOPSIS: The Slums is a mockumentary that follows a documentary team as they terrorize a poor family living in the urban slums of Manila. The film features the colourful lives of the Reyes family: Nayda, the family’s loving mother with body image issues; Julio, the hardworking but not very bright father; Oliver, the fabulous son who wants to be a supermodel; Boy, the youngest and naughtiest child; and Pam, the feisty eldest child of the family. The family TV is broken and as they struggle to fix it, they grow increasingly annoyed as the documentary team becomes more involved in their daily lives.
Quing Lalam Ning Aldo is a Kapampangan phrase which means under the sun. When I saw this short film, it easily became my favourite. Why? Because this film is full of love that radiates through the screen. Quing Lalam Ning Aldo (Under The Sun) By Reeden Fajardo Short Feature Category SYNOPSIS: Upon learning that their son is coming home after 15 years, Budang and Georgia, transgender farmers from Pampanga, decided to surprise Janjan by renovating their neglected kitchen and gather ingredients so they can cook their favourite dish “con saleng manuk” but things will not work as planned.
When the trailer was presented at the Cinemalaya 2020 press con, I also received the posters of all the short films. The first one that sparked my interest is Tokwifi. No, not tok- wai-fai. Tok-wee-fee which means star, a short film where a 1950s mestiza star, trapped inside a television that fell from the sky, dreams up a romantic romp with a Bontok Igorot man who does not know how to kiss. Tokwifi (Star, pronounced “tok-wee-fee”) By Carla Pulido Ocampo Short Feature Category SYNOPSIS: As Limmayug carries firewood back to his home village, something falls from the sky – a 1950s television with a hysterical showbiz star, named Laura Blancaflor, trapped inside it. The frightened man saves the television – nay, saves Laura – from the flames of the impact. Worlds apart in their language and methods, the two try their best to engage each other. But for Limmayug, an indigenous man from an off-the-grid mountain town, Laura’s TV talk seems too contrived and finds her even uncontrollably tactless during commercial breaks.
Presented in black and white, the next film that caught my eye is “Pabasa Kan Pasyon” or in English, Chanting the Passion by Hubert Tibi. Here a Bicolano family turns to religion to make both ends meet. Pabasa Kan Pasyon (Chanting the Passion) By Hubert Tibi Short Feature Category SYNOPSIS: Religion and economy take centre stage in a Bicolano family’s story, set during the Lenten season. To make ends meet, one of them turns to religion and pushes his mother to make a living off her faith.
10 short films are vying for the Cinemalaya 2020 Best Film. After watching all over the weekend, I found my favourite ones and will be reviewing each this week. First on my list is “Ang Gasgas na Plaka ni Lolo Bert” or in English, The Broken Vinyl Record. Ang Gasgas na Plaka ni Lolo Bert (The Broken Vinyl Record) By Janina Gacosta and Cheska Marfori Short Feature Category SYNOPSIS: A closeted gay man in his 60s has been living with HIV for 10 years. His monotonous life takes a sudden turn when he receives an old vinyl record from his dead ex-lover. The first few minutes are all about lolo Bert (Dido Dela Paz). He lives alone in an old brown house. He doesn’t like company so he pretty much ignores people who knock on his door. If you don’t read the synopsis as I do, you will start to think that lolo Bert is an introvert. He cherishes serenity and enjoys a hot cup of coffee on a rainy day. But soon you find …