Monday, January 02, 2006

Metro Manila Film Festival 2005

In a few days the Metro Manila Film Festival will come to a close. There are times when the festival comes up with really great films like Crying Ladies and Rizal. Then there are times when the festival comes up with films not so great - they tend to be formulaic and predictable. Unfortunately, this year seems to be that.

Save for one or two people, the feedback about the film festival is not that good. More than one friend advised me not to have any high expectation of the film. And that seems to be the prudent attitude another would be the just stay home rent or buy VCDs or DVDs of really good movies.

Do not get me wrong, Foreign film producers are as or even more guilty than local film producers of churning out formulaic and predictable films. And there is nothing wrong with imitating a style or even a story, the proper word should be adopting, but one has to do it with panache. Not just copying for the sake of copying.

However, if one were going to produce film for a holiday at least make them exciting. And not just a simple rehash or mishmash of films that came before it.

In this film festival there are at least three stories with Dragons blatantly copied from the recent Harry Potter Film. One film I watched , was not so bad, but I left wondering how it got a high rating from a locally-based movie review group. Mulawin, is OK, and the fans of the series will like it because they want to see how the story is finally settled, but an A? As I said they , the one who reviewed it, must have been grading on a curve.

Exodus for all its fluff is just that full of fluff. Enteng Kabisote is a rehash of last year's Enteng Kabisote with a dragon. Ako Legal Wife is the last manifestation of the Mano Po series and ironically it attempts to spoof its own movie-ancestor. Kutob is a washed down version of Ruffa Mae Quintos and Epi Quizon's Radyo. Shake, Rattle and Roll is just a pale shadow of the First Shake, Rattle and Roll.

The only reason these movies are making money is that they do not have any other competition during the holiday season. And film is still the cheapest form of entertainment for Christmas. If they were up against international fims, that may also be full of fluff, these films may just loose. However, even if the said films have a monopoly on our attention for a week or so, like a really awful Christmas presention one has to sit through and smile, in due time such an advantage will fade. As the cost of a seat in a cinema house goes up, people will eventually look critically if it is really worth it. There will always be VCDs and DVDs available for rent or purchase - and they need not be pirated.

It would really be interesting to see how they would fare during a regular commercial run.

No amount of fluff and marketing will cover-up bad story-telling. And a film for the family or pang pamilya is not a synonymous to movies for the dumb. People learn and alternative forms of entertainment are becoming more and more available.

Unfortunately, none of the films showing at the Metro Manila Film Festival is as good as the independent film "Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros". This film has a story to tell, it tells it well and it has a soul. It is a story without the fluff and the cliches.


Post a Comment

<< Home