MOVIE REVIEW: Chicboy (2016, CineFilipino)

“Chicboy” Review
Directed by Jasper Ramon Tulabot
Written by Jasper Ramon Tulabot and Rona Mae Lallana
Cinefilipino Film Festival 2016

A man wakes up hung over and goes straight to the loo to relieve himself. When he comes out, he sees a beautiful woman he doesn’t recognize in bed, implying that they shared an intimate moment the night before. 

Trouble ensues when the man is revealed to be gay, hence his apparent shock and disgust with the thought of having had sex with a woman. The woman appears to be totally nonchalant about it, and enjoys teasing him in a sultry manner, even inviting him for another round of wanton excess.

As it turns out, he doesn’t even recognize the place he’s in, and calls his friends to query their whereabouts in a very manly, totally un-effeminate manner: telling the audience that he has kept the knowledge of his sexual orientation even from his friends.

With all his discomfort and his disgust, he finds out that he has more in common with the woman than he initially thought after he sees the woman relieving herself.

Chicboy is entertaining with its off-hand and dirty jokes, which albeit too inappropriate for children, can still elicit a snigger or two from a mature audience. The only problem with it is its shallow material; it’s mostly forgettable, and not something that deserves a second viewing.  Not exactly a film that will keep you glued to your seat, in fact, you can just shrug it off and move on to the next one. Pity.

cinefilipino 2016 chicboy poster

 

MOVIE REVIEW: Sina Dino at ang Kanilang Sikreto (2016, CineFilipino)

“SiNa Dino at ang Kanilang Sikreto” Review
Written and Directed by Miller E. Ursolino
CineFilipino Film Festival 2016 (Best Documentary)

Filipinos as a whole have the tendency to view seafarers and Overseas Filipino Workers as lucky individuals, living the high life abroad while earning substantially more than those who stayed. They get to travel, experience new cultures, exotic delicacies, and buy things a lot of Filipinos can only imagine ever purchasing. But what do we really know? Are we ignorant? Or do we just choose to be ignorant, not concerned with the truth; but only with the spoils and decadence we enjoy every time we get a balikbayan box or a Western Union transfer?

Sina Dino at ang Kanilang Sikreto was created with the intention  to hopefully educate the audience to the sacrifice our seafarers have to endure to ensure that they can provide properly for their family’s needs. Who better to do it than a former seafarer himself? First-time filmmaker Miller Ursolino has spent some of his years at sea himself, and knows firsthand what these people have to go through; even the secrets they harbour and deal with through the years.

Dino Bandol, a seasoned seaman, takes the audience through the different facets of his life, from being a husband, father, and a seafarer worth his salt. Others like him also discuss all the sacrifice they have to take and the risks involved working at sea. Being away from family for months on end, missing births, baptisms, and birthdays apparently is not the only thing weighing on their shoulders. Quite often, even getting the chance to rest and recuperate for the next day’s toils is a challenge, since bad weather and rolling seas ensure you roll on your bed as well, robbing you of any imaginable sleep.

One seaman pointed out how friends rejected his requests for a loan after being laid off for fourteen months, since they were under the impression that seamen always had money, and cannot imagine a seafarer ever having the need to borrow. Another seaman laments the fact that he got seriously injured on the job, forcing him to be sent back to the Philippines and prevented from ever stepping foot on a ship ever again. His worries about the schooling of his children who are both currently in college could be seen on his face, and his desire to be able to sail again is accentuated by the tears that rolled down his cheeks as he opened up to the audience.

Their line of work is not a special privilege, it’s a last resort. If there was any other way, they’d obviously choose to stay. But they don’t, and the reasons behind it all should be enough. They don’t do it for themselves, but for the ones who remain.

For people who have close relations who work at sea or abroad, Sina Dino at ang Kanilang Sikreto has a special significance. For those who don’t (specifically, the friends and reptilian relatives who always request stuff and drinking sessions), then this film might help them grow a conscience. Then again, maybe not.

cinefilipino sina dino at ang kanilang sikreto movie poster

MOVIE REVIEW: Not Applicable (2016, CineFilipino)

“Not Applicable” Review
Written and Directed by Carl Adrian Chavez
CineFilipino Film Festival 2016

Elsa, an overweight and highly unattractive call centre agent, gets a surprise visit from someone she’d rather not see ever: her half-sister Anna. Anna comes bearing gifts, replacing the wilted flowers from Elsa’s vase with fresh ones from a bouquet she brought with her, and hands Elsa with a cake. She then goes ahead and initiates banter with her older half-sister, asking her about her age, career, and about the one person Elsa does not want to talk about: their unemployed, unscrupulous, womanizing father. Elsa manages to painfully squeeze out a response to every question with as much sarcasm and unpleasantness as she can muster, and they soon reach the point to the very reason why Anna tried to reach out to her: she wants to know if their father left her anything on his will.

Elsa leaves her half-sister for a moment to retrieve a document, and returns to tell Anna that what was intended for her was the very dining table they were having the cake on: ornate, fragile, and definitely antique. Anna initially declines due to her having too many tables and too little space, but Elsa insists due to the fact that she wants to get rid of as much history her father has left in the house as soon as possible.

Elsa suddenly has a sudden change of heart after seeing (hallucinating, most likely) a part of the table glint with gold. She suddenly has a vision of the money she can get out of the table if she keeps it for herself, and in fact even gets haunted by her father; but decides to ignore the apparition. She then proceeds to work on trying to sway Anna to change her mind (since she already arranged to have the tabled moved the same day).

 

Not Applicable as a film is simply a story about how the effects of infidelity sends ripples of unpleasantness even in the adulthood of the children born out of said infidelity. The actors did a brilliant job of portraying the hurt and the indignation one can feel out of seeing (and conversing) to the result of your own father’s betrayal, and the loss of something you think you should be entitled to. At the end of the day, no one wins. Everyone loses.

cinefilipino 2016 not applicable poster