GUIDE: French Film Festival 2017

The 22nd French Film Festival rolls the red carpet for French-Philippine film exchange
For the 22nd year, the Embassy of France to the Philippines, Institut Français, the Alliance française de Manille and de Cebu, and the Film Development Council of the Philippines, in cooperation with the Ayala Malls Cinemas, Ayala Malls, Central Square, Circuit Makati and SSI Group, Inc. roll out the red carpet once more for the French Film Festival in Manila.

Here are the complete screening schedules:

Each year, over 15,000 moviegoers are treated to critically-acclaimed feature films that provide a mirror into French society. From June 9 to 17 at the Ayala Malls Cinemas in Greenbelt 3 and the BHS Central Square Cinemas, the 22nd French Film Festival continues this tradition by offering 13 French films that will immerse Filipinos in a different form of storytelling that portrays French values, culture, and language.

It is for this reason that the French Film Festival remains one of the year’s most anticipated events of “PhilFrance : Feel French !”, a year-long festival launched by the French Embassy last January to celebrate the 70th year anniversary of French-Philippine diplomatic relations. The spirit of “PhilFrance : Feel French !” is to give Filipinos the opportunity to “feel France” in various aspects of everyday life, including arts, culture and of course, film and at the same time, celebrate the growing and diversifying partnership between France and the Philippines in all sectors.

To mark this long-standing friendship, the French Film Festival will also pay homage to Filipino films that have been selected at the Cannes Film Festival, which also celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2017. On June 12, Independence Day, the following films will be screened at the French Film Festival: Nakaw, directed by Noel Escondo and Arvin Belarmino (Short Film Corner, 2017); Ma’ Rosa, directed by Brillante Mendoza (Main Competition, Best Actress Award, 2016); On the Job, directed by Erik Matti (Director’s Fortnight, 2013); and Anino by Raymond Red (Short Film Corner, Palme d’Or for Best Short Film, 2000).

For the first time ever, the French Film Festival will dedicate one weekend for “plein air” free public outdoor screenings at Circuit Makati on June 17 and 18, 2017.
Similar to last year, tickets for screenings at the cinemas of Greenbelt 3 and Bonifacio High Street are priced at 100 and may be purchased at the ticket counter or online via

A bright future for French-Philippine exchanges in film
Bilateral cooperation between France and the Philippines continues to grow at a significant pace.

In recognition of 70 years of diplomatic relations between France and the Philippines and his achievements in film, Brillante Mendoza has been invited by Institut Français as the “parrain” (godfather) of the La Fabrique Cinéma, a mentorship program for 10 up-and-coming filmmakers and producers from emerging economies.

Conscious of the cinematic achievements of Brillante Mendoza, who received the Cannes Best Director Award in 2009 for Kinatay and the Cannes Best Actress Award for Jaclyn Jose’s role in his 2016 film, Ma’ Rosa, the French government formally recognized him as Chevalier (Knight) in the French Order of Arts and Letters in 2013.

This year, the Cannes Film Festival once again served as a venue for institutional exchanges between French and Philippine film agencies. Film Development Council of the Philippines Chairperson Liza Diño discussed ways to intensify cooperation and exchange with the FDCP’s French counterpart, the Centre national du cinema et de l’image animée (CNC) and Unifrance, the French agency responsible for the promotion of French films worldwide. The meetings aimed to encourage French-Philippine co-productions.

Since director Raymond Red received the Palme d’Or for his short film, Anino, in 2000, Filipino films have consistently been featured at the Cannes Film Festival, whose primary aim is to provide a venue to promote cultural diversity through film. While the likes of Brillante Mendoza and Lav Diaz are regulars at Cannes, this year’s festival featured a new generation of Filipino filmmakers. Director Carlo Manatad, who was a participant at last year’s La Fabrique Cinéma, presented his short film Jodilerks: Employee of the Month starring Angeli Bayani at the Semaine de la Critique, while Arvin Belarmino and Noel Escondo screened Nakaw at the Short Films Corner.

These filmmakers represent the bright future ahead for Philippine cinema, and through continued bilateral exchanges in the audiovisual field, France reiterates its commitment to contribute to this booming sector in the country.

The 22nd French Film Festival in Manila is presented by the Embassy of France to the Philippines, Institut Français, the Alliance française de Manille and de Cebu, and the Film Development Council of the Philippines, in cooperation with the Ayala Malls Cinemas, Ayala Malls, Central Square, Circuit Makati, and the SSI Group, Inc., and with the support of Peugeot Philippines, Delsey, Marithé François Girbaud, Paris Delice, Le Cellier, Don Papa, Monin, ThinkBIT, Cignal, and media partners Expat Newspaper, the ABS-CBN News Channel, Rogue Media, L’Officiel Manila, Art Plus Magazine, and Manilascope.

For the film line-up and screening schedule, visit and Share your French Film Festival story on social media using the hashtag #FrenchFilmFest22 and #PhilFrance70.

PhilFrance : Feel French ! celebrates 70 years of Franco-Philippine friendship

The French Film Festival is part of “PhilFrance : Feel French !”, a festival to celebrate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and the Philippines this year. Throughout 2017, the Embassy of France to the Philippines, together with its partners, will organize a series of events that will give the Filipino public an opportunity to “feel France” in everyday life. The line-up includes the following events, among others:

  • Fête de la Musique (June 17 at the A-Venue Mall Parking Lot and June 23 at Puerto Real in Intramuros, Manila)
  • Ravel Unraveled French Classical Music Concert (June 22 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines)
  • Tour de Manille, a cycling event that coincides with the Tour de France (July 9 at North Park, SM by the BAY)
  • Bon Appétit: A French food market in Manila (September 22 to 24 at Central Square, Bonifacio High Street)
  • A job fair and employability forum for the underprivileged youth (September)
  • French volunteerism day (October)
  • A series of conferences on architecture and urbanism, agriculture and social sciences
  • Networking events, business meetings and start-up programs involving the French business community

For more information on “PhilFrance : Feel French !”, visit

Schedule for CCP’s ‘Virgin Labfest 13: Wagas!’ unveiled

Now on its 13th edition, the Virgin Labfest remains to be a celebrated event flocked by theater enthusiasts at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).  It is an annual festival of unpublished, unstaged, untried and untested works in partnership with Writer’s Bloc Inc. and Tanghalang Pilipino Inc.

Virgin Labfest 13 will run from June 28 to July 16, 2017. See the full schedule below.

Ticket Prices

Tickets and passes are now available via Ticketworld outlets and at the CCP Box Office. Tickets per set cost P400 (if bought at the CCP Box Office) and P412 (if bought via Ticketworld). VLF festival passes, which can be used to see all sets of performances, cost P1,600 each and are only available at the CCP Box Office.

For more information, call the CCP Box Office at (02) 832-3704 or Ticketworld at (02) 891-9999.

Schedules of Virgin Labfest 13: WAGAS!

June 28 to July 16, 2017
Cultural Center of the Philippines

MAIN LINEUP – Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino

• Oggie Arcenas, “Loveteam” (Direction: Michael Williams)
• Eljay Castro Deldoc, “Pilipinas Kong Mahal with all the Overcoat”
(Direction: Roobak Valle)
• Rick Patriarca, “Birdcage” (Direction: Ian Segarra)

June 28, July 7/12/16, 3 pm
June 28, July 6/11/15, 8 pm

• Ryan Machado, “Ang Mga Puyong” (Direction: Ricardo Magno)
• Maynard Manansala and U Eliserio, “Hindi Ako si Darna” (Direction: Andoy Ranay)
• Joshua Lim So, “Boses ng Masa” (Direction: Guelan Varela-Luarca)

June 29, July 2/8/13, 3 pm
June 29, July 7/12/16, 8 pm

• Layeta C. Bucoy, “Si Dr. Dolly Dalisay at ang mga Ladybugs” (Direction: Jonathan Tadioan)
• Sari Saysay, “Ang Bata sa Bus Stop” (Direction: Topper Fabregas)
• Carlo Vergara, “Dear and Unhappy” (Direction: Ricky Villabona)

June 30, July 5/9/14, 3 pm
June 30, July 2/8/14, 8 pm

• Adrian Ho, “Sincerity Biker’s Club” (Direction: Jenny Jamora)
• Dingdong Novenario, “Nothing But Dreams” (Direction: Carlos Siguion-Reyna)
• Eliza Victoria, “Ang Bahay sa Gitna ng Kawalan” (Direction: George de Jesus)

July 1/6/11/15, 3 pm
July 1/5/9/14, 8 pm

REVISITED – Tanghalang Huseng Batute

• Alexandra May Cardoso, “Ang Sugilanon ng Kabiguan ni Epefania” (Direction: Charles Yee)
• Dominique La Victoria, “Ang Bata sa Drum” (Direction: Dudz Teraña)
• Carlo Vergara, “Mula sa Kulimliman” (Direction: Hazel Gutierrez)

July 1/2/8/9/15/16, 3 pm
June 30, July 1/7/8/14/15, 8 pm

STAGED READINGS – Tanghalang Amado V. Hernandez (Conference Room)

• Jaime Bautista, “Point And Click” (Direction: Mara Marasigan)
• Nicko de Guzman, “Vertigo” (Direction: Yong Tapang)
• Fatrick Tabada, “Walang Forever Virus” (Direction: Elmer Rufo)

July 7, 6 pm

• Rolin Migyuel Cadallo Obina, “Ang Pag-uulyanin ni Olivia Mendoza” (Direction: Emmanuel dela Cruz)
• Kevin Tabora, “Andiyan Lang” (Direction: Dennis Marasigan)

July 14, 6 pm

3rd VIRGIN LABFEST Anthology: Book Launch

Little Theater Lobby
June 30, 6 pm


Direction: Dennis Marasigan

Staged reading at Tanghalang Amado V. Hernandez (Conference Room)

July 16, 6 pm

‘Despicable Me 3’ shares character posters of Minions as inmates

As the new trailers have revealed, the Minions go to jail in Despicable Me 3, and Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment have released the character posters for the six lead Minions as inmates, with cute tattoos to boot.

Take a look at the new posters below and watch Despicable Me 3 in Philippine cinemas on June 14, 2017.

The team who brought you Despicable Me and the biggest animated hits of 2013 and 2015, Despicable Me 2 and Minions, returns to continue the adventures of Gru, Lucy, their adorable daughters—Margo, Edith and Agnes—and the Minions in Despicable Me 3.

Joining Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig in Despicable Me 3 is Emmy, Tony and Grammy Award winner Trey Parker, co-creator of Comedy Central’s global phenomenon South Park and the Broadway smash The Book of Mormon. Parker voices the role of villain Balthazar Bratt, a former child star who’s grown up to become obsessed with the character he played in the ‘80s, and proves to be Gru’s most formidable nemesis to date.

Despicable Me 3 is directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, co-directed by Eric Guillon, and written by Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio.

The animated film is produced by Illumination’s Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy, and executive produced by Chris Renaud.

Despicable Me 3 is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

‘Wonder Woman’ to have midnight previews on June 1 at 12:01 AM

MANILA, May 29, 2017 – The countdown to the opening of Warner Bros. Pictures’ Wonder Woman cannot be any faster, but die-hard fans are in for a treat as the studio has announced midnight previews on June 1 at 12:01AM in selected cinemas in Metro Manila and regional cities.

Fans are advised to reserve and buy their tickets now to be among the first in the world to watch Wonder Woman.

In Metro Manila, midnight screenings are confirmed to be held in Glorietta 4, Greenbelt 3, Trinoma, S’ Maison, SM Aura, SM Bacoor, SM BF, SM Bicutan, SM Fairview, SM Light Mall, SM Mall of Asia, SM Marilao, SM Megamall, SM Molino, SM North EDSA, SM Southmall, Robinsons Magnolia, Powerplant, Century, CommerCenter, Eastwood, Evia, Fisher’s Mall, Gateway, Newport, Starmall Alabang, Starmall EDSA, Starmall Las Pinas, Starmall San Jose, Vista Mall Sta. Rosa, Vista Mall Taguig, Uptown and Venice Cineplex.

Moviegoers in the provinces may watch in SM Baguio, SM Clark, SM Naga, SM Pampanga, Vista Bataan, Vista Pampanga and SM Cebu.

For the updated list, fans may check with their favorite cinemas.

Gal Gadot returns as the title character in the epic action adventure Wonder Woman from director Patty Jenkins.

Joining Gadot in the international cast are Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya, Ewen Bremner, Lucy Davis, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Eugene Brave Rock and Saïd Taghmaoui.

Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, raised on a sheltered island paradise and trained to be an unconquerable warrior. When an American pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside man in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers…and her true destiny.

Patty Jenkins directed the film from a screenplay by Allan Heinberg, story by Zack Snyder & Allan Heinberg and Jason Fuchs, based on characters from DC. Wonder Woman was created by William Moulton Marston.

“Diana is set apart from most comic book superheroes by her gender, but it’s her approach to justice that I believe really makes her unique,” Gal Gadot claims. “She not only wants to rid the world of evil by taking out the bad guys, she also wants to encourage men and women to be the best human beings they can be, and she does this through love, hope and grace.”

Patty Jenkins agrees, further stating, “If only we could all see the world the way Diana does. She sees the great darkness, but also looks beyond that to what mankind is capable of: great beauty. She also has the powers of a god, a heart filled with compassion, and we wanted to give her a rich and layered and fun story to tell that everyone can connect with. It’s just a great adventure that I hope fans—old and new—will love!”

Opening across the Philippines on Thursday, June 1, 2017, “Wonder Woman” is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

The undead and her prey: Meet ‘The Mummy’ characters

A badass female mummy, a down-on-his-his-luck soldier of fortune and and engimatic doctor lead the mysterious characters in Universal Pictures’ new action-adventure The Mummy (in Philippine cinemas on June 7, 2017).

Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) is a soldier of fortune who plunders conflict sites for timeless artifacts… ones he sells to the highest bidder. When Nick and his No. 2 (Chris Vail) are attacked by insurgents in the Middle East, in the ensuing battle, they accidentally unearth a tomb of an Egyptian pharaoh they come to know as Ahmanet. Nick is not simply the one responsible for setting Ahmanet free, he’s fulfilling an ordained destiny he couldn’t have possibly imagined. Now, he is the only one who can stop her ascension to a global ruler who will enslave humanity.

Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella). Centuries ago, Ahmanet was raised as a fearless warrior and heir to her father’s throne. She was destined to be the first female pharaoh, but when the king finally fathered a son, Ahmanet was cast aside. Driven mad by betrayal, she was entombed for eternity by the very people who swore loyalty to her. Her fate? Erasure from history. Accidentally awoken by Nick Morton, this original and extraordinarily powerful monster sets out to reclaim her stolen kingdom and ascend to her rightful place as pharaoh. With her evolving powers, the strange and seductive Ahmanet forges an unbreakable connection with Nick, and in so doing, intertwines their destinies.

Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) is a British officer of Cultural Heritage, who is enlisted by Nick to unearth the sarcophagus for transport. The Egyptologist’s own mother was long certain that there was a female pharaoh who’d been erased from history. Now, Jenny has finally found the princess she heard of only in myth and legend. When Jenny, Nick and Vail rappel down to an antechamber unearthed by human war, they unleash Princess Ahmanet, accidentally setting off a series of otherworldly phenomena.

The enigmatic Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe) oversees Prodigium, a secret organization with a mandate to recognize, examine, contain and destroy evil in our world. A scholarly English gentlemen grounded in the modern day, he not only protects the world from monsters, he protects monsters from the world. Is Jekyll a friend or foe? Like all our principal characters, it depends upon your perspective, and their end game…

Chris Vail (Jake Johnson). Although Vail likes to think of himself as a “liberator of precious antiques,” others prefer the term “modern-day grave robber.” While Nick is into the adventure as much as he is the adrenaline rush, Vail has no qualms about admitting he’s only in it for the money. Vail and Nick have been partners in crime for years, but nothing could prepare them for the evil they have awakened.

Col. Greenway (Courtney B. Vance). A career military man tasked with ensuring U.S. military operations in the Middle East go by the book, Greenway embodies “steadfast.” When he discovers the chaos Nick and Vail have caused, he hauls them in for questioning. Once Ahmanet rises, however, the colonel—and all of humanity—must rely on Nick as he leads our struggle for survival.

The Mummy is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

FULL LIST: Winners, Cannes Film Festival 2017

Here are the winners at the 70th edition of the Cannes film festival.

Palme d’Or

The Square (dir: Ruben Östlund)

Caméra d’Or (best first feature)

Jeune Femme (Montparnasse-Bienvenüe) (dir: Léonor Serraille)

Best short film

A Gentle Night (dir: Qiu Yang)

Best screenplay

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (dir: Yorgos Lanthimos); You Were Never Really Here (dir: Lynne Ramsay)

Jury prize

Loveless (dir: Andrei Zvyagintsev)

Best actress

Diane Kruger, In the Fade (dir: Fatih Akin)

Best actor

Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here (dir: Lynne Ramsay)

Best director

Sofia Coppola, The Beguiled

Grand Prix

120 Beats per Minute (dir: Robin Campillo)

70th Anniversary prize

Nicole Kidman

WATCH: Gerald, Arci paired anew in ‘Can We Still Be Friends?’ trailer

Star Cinema has released the official trailer for ‘Can We Still Be Friends,’ the second pairing in the big screen of Gerald Anderson and Arci Muñoz. Directed by Prime Cruz, this new romantic comedy film will hit Philippine theaters starting June 14, 2017.

‘Can We Still Be Friends?’ tells the story of Digs (Anderson) and Sam (Muñoz) who are lovers-turned-exes-turned-friends. Also starring Ria Atayde, Emmanuelle Vera, Bryan Santos, Brian Sy, Erika Padilla, and Juan Miguel Severo.

Anderson and Muñoz first worked together in Dan Villegas’ ‘Always Be My Maybe,’ which was released in February last year.

Opening across the Philippines on June 14, 2017, ‘Can We Still Be Friend’ is released and distributed by Star Cinema, an ABS-CBN company.

‘Ang Araw sa Likod Mo’ graded A by the Cinema Evaluation Board

Internationally and locally acclaimed Phils.-based produced full feature film “Ang Araw sa Likod Mo (The Sun Behind You)” directed by Dominic Nuesa starring Ping Medina, Bong Cabrera and Mike Liwag has recently been graded A by the Cinema Evaluation Board.

For its consistent and deliberate effort to give the audience a fresh take and affecting story about the country’s long-time battle in Mindanao, Nuesa’s “Ang Araw sa Likod Mo” now joins the roster of other acclaimed Filipino films that have been graded A by the board such as Mario Cornejo’s “Apocalypse Child,” Paul Soriano’s “Thelma” and Albert Martinez’s “Rosario”. The film made the board’s cut in terms of excellence in direction, screenplay, cinematography, editing, production design, music scoring, sound and acting making it worthy of the 100% amusement-tax rebate incentive from the government.

Directing from his own script, “Ang Araw sa Likod Mo” follows an elite team of Phils. Scout Rangers headed by Sgt. Benjie Calayan (Medina) tracking down lawless Islamist elements in the southern tip of the country. Caught in the middle of this conflict are brothers Omar (Liwag), a young Muslim scholar turned radical and his older brother Jamiluddin (Cabrera) turned government informant.

The title of the movie, “Ang Araw sa Likod Mo” is symbolic of one’s trust and loyalty to a revered family or friend and inspired by Islam’s daily prayer before sunrise known as Fajr. In the film, this is further emphasized as Jamil and Omar share an unbreakable bond of trust despite belonging to opposing sides.

On developing his script, Nuesa is mindful of the humanity of each character from both (opposing) sides, which is centric to the film. “Direk Marilou Diaz-Abaya, my mentor, once told us that she was fascinated with Islam when she was making “Bagong Buwan”. I thought I understood why, that it was only an interesting subject matter, nothing more. Only when I started listening to Professor Darwin Absari and Imam Bedejim Abdullah was I able to grasp what my dearest Teacher meant. I was invited to Mosques and conversations over sweet drinks. You don’t really research Islam. I had to feel it. I had to feel the struggle of our Muslim brothers. I had to feel the joy of their Faith. I had to feel the Oneness of Allah. I had to reach deep into Mindanao and find at its center, the soul. Like Marilou Diaz-Abaya in “Bagong Buwan”, I found myself captivated by some aspects of Islam, and I hope that “Ang Araw sa Likod Mo” reflects this,” Nuesa shares.

An anti-piracy film ambassador, the director strongly supports Globe Telecom’s #PlayItRight anti-piracy campaign which aims to respect the hard labor and protect the livelihood of the crew. “Piracy is no longer cool nowadays, we want everyone to start having a conscious effort not to download from illegal sources that could possibly harm the hard-earned devices of the customers,” Yoly Crisanto, Globe’s SVP for Corporate Communications shares.

A highly-recommended viewing for students, “Ang Araw sa Likod Mo” opens May 24 in cinemas nationwide from An Earth Below Productions in cooperation with HERO Foundation.

Now showing in Metro Manila, Cebu, Davao, Pampanga, Subic, Bacoor, Laoag, General Trias, Cagayan De Oro, Bacolod, Iloilo and Tacloban – check out Ayala Malls Cinemas, SM Cinemas, Robinsons Cinemas, Shangri-La Cinema, Festival and Gateway Cinemas for schedules.

‘Narcos’ star Ana de la Reguera plays matchmaker-nurse in ‘Everything, Everything’

Star of Netflix’s hit crime drama and Golden Globe-nominated series Narcos, Ana de la Reguera now appears in Warner Bros. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures’ new romantic drama Everything, Everything.

Based on the bestselling book of the same name by Nicola Yoon, Everything, Everything tells the unlikely love story of Maddy (Amandla Sternberg), a smart, curious and imaginative 18-year-old who due to an illness cannot leave the protection of the hermetically sealed environment within her house, and Olly (Nick Robinson), the boy next door who won’t let that stop them.

De La Reguera plays, Maddy’s nurse, who has brought sunshine into the girl’s everyday life for the past 15 or so years.

Question: Why did you want to be a part of Everything, Everything?

Ana de la Reguera: The novel was wonderful and deservedly embraced by young people everywhere, and it’s from an interesting author. I also love that it is a movie about all of these different characters, including my character, Carla, that impact the life of this wonderful young woman, Maddy, played by Amandla Stenberg. Maddy and Carla, who’s a nurse treating Maddy at home, become close. So, I was very, very excited to portray Carla.

Q: You mention the relationship that Carla has with Maddy. Carla is Maddy’s nurse, but they’re also friends. How was that to play?

De La Reguera: Carla has known Maddy most of her life—they grew up together. Carla is Maddy’s confidante, and they joke a lot together. I really wanted to make Carla less serious and bring more light and fun to her. She loves making Maddy laugh!

Q: What would you say was the biggest challenge in playing the role?

De La Reguera: I wanted Carla to be relatable and make sure the audience understands the friendship between her and Maddy. But I was careful not to make it look silly, and I really hope people enjoy Carla.

Q: What was it like acting opposite Amandla Sternberg who plays Maddy?

De La Reguera: It was great. Amandla is a super-smart young woman who carries so much of the film on her shoulders. She was always prepared and professional. I think she’s going to have an amazing career. It was great to work with Amandla and share time with her.

Q: Looking back on the experience of making the film, was there anything that was particularly challenging or fun to play?

De La Reguera: It was exciting to play a scene where Carla arranges for Maddy to meet Olly, played by Nick Robinson. I knew that was the moment in the movie that everyone is going to be waiting for.

Q: What do you hope audiences experience when they see Everything, Everything in the cinema?

De La Reguera: I think audiences are going to fall in love with Maddy and Olly, and with Amandla and Nick. They really have a special chemistry, and they’re beautiful together. I think that’s what you want in love—to find someone who you connect with. With just one look, something special happens. Everyone will relate to that because everyone has had a moment like that, or if they haven’t, they want to!

Opening across the Philippines on June 21, 2017, Everything, Everything distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select international territories by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures.

MOVIE REVIEW: Colossal (2017)

Colossal (Nacho Vigalondo, 2017) is a film that embraces its weirdness, and knows exactly what it wants without getting tangled in the loops of confusion, offering the audience a very smart and original approach to contemporary filmmaking.

Whenever Gloria (Anne Hathaway) gets drunk, a monster attacks Seoul, South Korea — perhaps, the most random, peculiar pitch to summarize the film. Colossal works primarily because of its originality. It’s Godzilla in a socially satirical existentialist world, with thoughtful, generously written characters taking you on a ride of bizarre conquests. It doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is. Yes, the film doesn’t have any grand twists or shocking spoilers: it is literally what it says it is: a very random concept that somehow works because its intelligent blueprint, meticulously conceptualized by visionary director Nacho Vigalondo, who perhaps is the film’s true breakthrough.

Vigalondo’s direction is so assertive and quirky, with elements of the crazy beautiful world of Gregg Araki and some of Charlie Kaufman’s bizarre existential textures, whilst maintaining a concrete and tangible narrative of characters who are still humane amidst the strangeness of their surroundings. How they are developed with such realism is why we hold on to their stories, as we find ourselves rooting for the hero and against the villain without pretentious concepts of all-abstract pastiche.

Basically, anything where Anne Hathaway’s in turns to be a delightful feast. Her wide-eyed presence, joyous spirit and luminous humor makes her portrayal of Gloria a standalone feature of the film. Colossal isn’t just about the concept; it’s about Hathaway’s performance, too. Her skill for physical comedy is highlighted in a film where terror and chaos serve as a backdrop, creating a beautiful contrast and intelligent balance of substance and aesthetics.

Kudos to Jason Sudeikis for a very mad performance as Oscar, whose character is written to put the spotlight to that of Hathaway’s, but is crazy good enough for him to carry the film in the darker light it projects.

Although there are definitely moments where the editing is a bit dragging and the storytelling quite unnecessarily long, Hathaway and Sudeikis make it worth the ride, stirring curiosity, making you want to get to the bottom of it all — in a good way, that is.

Overall, it’s a film of such strange nature with elements of black comedy, psychodrama, suspense and thriller, set in a mad world with rich, smart characters. Maybe, it will not hit everyone the same way, but if you embrace Vigolondo’s other worldly craziness the way he does, the pleasure of witnessing a one-of-a-kind movie is non-stop. The film, at least, deserves a recognition for Best Original Screenplay as the year ends. Definitely, one of the most original movies I have ever seen.

4.25 out of 5 stars