Monday, January 09, 2006

Bile and Vinegar from the Metro Manila Film Festival 2005

Metro Manila Film Festival 2005 has ended. The annual siege of cinema houses and the viewing public has ended. Yesterday, the local cinemas began showing the film adaptation of CS Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Imagine a world in permanent winter and with no Christmas. It would seem that it would be a perfect description of what happened after December 24, when the film festival descended on the public.

There were times when one looked forward to the Metro Manila Film Festival. Did this not produce notable films like the Crying Ladies or lofty goaled movies like Rizal? Unfortunately, this was also the festival that produced a lot of duds with too much suds.

As expected the awards night there were a lot of controversies regarding the winners. In particular voices were raised against the choice for best actor, best director and the Gatpuno Antonio Villegas Cultural Award. For nearly full details (?) read the article immediately below this paragraph.

The following link will take you to
CHEERS AND JEERS: Smiles during the MMFF awards, and protests right after

The two most outspoken persons against the awards were Lily Monteverde (who one way or the other produced bulk of the films in festival) and Joel Lamangan (who directed two of the films in the festival). Accusations are accusations; well at least they should provide proof. And you even have the mother of Aguiluz of Mulawin saying out load and in the press the Monteverde did not handle properly the movie of Aguiluz. Proof is important here more than mere insinuations - at least in the Manila Film Festival, which saw the downfall of several celebrities, the cheating was caught on tape. Proof! Proof! Evidence!

Then again why go to the bother. There are several award bodies set to distribute awards this year. Surely, there will be a trophy or two or three or even a grand slam for a movie.

Lily Monteverde, Mother Lily, stated that if this system continues she might not just enter the film festival next year. Is that a promise? At least you will have other producers, hopefully people like Raymond Red, Tony Gloria and the people responsible for Ang Pagdadala ni Maximo Oliveros, who might be able to bring in something new.

I was particularly touched when Monteverde said that she sacrificed not using the air-conditioner for a year to finance the movies they imposed on the viewing public. Oh! Such sacrifice I almost worthy of praise. And Lamangan's comment about at cabinet full of trophies is likewise priceless. Such acts remind us of the theatrics of an enfant terrible, one bereft of talent. Although he did this not manage to muck up Blue Moon, which so far seemed to best film among the set of films flung on the public like a bad Christmas Party Presentation at the office party. Thankfully, there are Vacs, DVDs about and a lot of other things to do during the Christmas break.

Well, I guess that is that for the 2005 Metro Manila Film Festival. This year was a so-so mix of films that were shamelessly self promoted to the public, and most of them were without originality and cliché-infested to the terminal point. In the end some of spin-doctors and promoters began to believe their own spin, a bad sign. Yet there seems to be some justice in that development. These films would not have survived the blows from Jackson's King Kong or the roar from Narnia's Lion. Maximo would have and it has done something these so-called festival films could not do, the film was invited to join the Sundance Film Festival.


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