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Triangle of excellence in acting

Thirty-two years after West End brought Filipino musical theater talent to the international stage in a major way via “Miss Saigon,” the European movie industry, with Hollywood connections, is finally catching up: It’s putting Philippine-born, -raised, and -based actors on the world cinema map with lead roles in high-profile films. And just like Lea Salonga,...

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Gawad Urian fulfills its social responsibility

More than being just another award-giving group in the film industry, the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino (Manunuri) is a corps of critics who review and recommend films for their commercial and artistic values to serve the best interest of Filipino moviegoers. Since it was established in 1976, the Manunuri has changed shallow notions of what...

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Always and ever: the Nora Aunor mystique

Does Adolf Alix Jr.’s “Kontrabida (The Villain)” winning a Netpac (Network in the Promotion of Asian Cinema) Award for Best Asian Film) at the 6th HIFF (Hanoi International Film Festival) held in Vietnam early this month still merit attention? Of course. Not only is “Kontrabida,” the Philippines’ entry in the festival, directed by a prolific and...

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A Spanish film for Filipino workers to watch

Young Critics Circle member Nonoy Lauzon was right: The 2021 Spanish film “El Buen Patron” (The Good Boss), directed by Fernando Leon de Aranoa, should be shown and viewed by Filipino employees in all workplaces. Lauzon said as much in Filipino after seeing the movie at the opening last Oct. 5 of the 21st Pelicula...

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Korean megahit film producer says ban on censorship is key to success

With the worldwide success of the “Korean wave” or hallyu, the Korean entertainment industry is now regarded as one of the most prominent, productive and moneymaking enterprises on the planet.  Korean cinema already conquered the world market in 2016, when “Train to Busan” made a killing at global box offices. In 2019, “Parasite” won the...

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Filming in the boondocks on a shoestring budget

The short documentary was supposed to be about the indigenous language of the Aeta in the remote, hilly village of Villa Espina in Lopez, Quezon. It was my intended entry to the 2022 Kota Kinabalu International Film Festival (KKIFF) in Sabah, Malaysia, on Sept. 17-25. But a tight production schedule and a looming deadline for...

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The militancy in/of Jay Altarejos

It’s not every day that one encounters a militant filmmaker like Joselito “Jay” Altarejos. Local show business isn’t traditionally and usually attuned to or associated with activism, political or otherwise; it’s more known for glitz and glam, if not gossip. Anything of the hoi polloi, the great unwashed, and being combative, truthful and aggressive don’t...

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This master of fantasy and horror films was born in Manila

The name of American filmmaker Brian Yuzna might not ring a bell to the mass audience of commercial films, especially from Hollywood, but he is a master in his own right. Come to think of it, Yuzna is on a par in innovations with such legends as Alfred Hitchcock or Brian de Palma, or even...

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The extraordinary Cherie Gil

Cherie Gil came across in varying ways—imperious and intimidating; funny, warm and open; beguiling and sexy.  Writing this, thinking about her and my time with her, I realize I probably really knew only one facet of a woman I love dearly and hold in great esteem. I’m certain her family, her barkada (the women—and man—who I fondly...

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‘Katips’: Martial Law 101 on dramatic steroids

“Katips” is not for those looking for a nuanced, layered, complex movie about martial law. It caters to a less sophisticated crowd—those who have not yet seen a martial law film, those who have zero to little knowledge and appreciation of martial law, and those who deny martial law atrocities altogether.  That’s a wider net,...