No, ‘Aurora’ is not ‘The girl in the Orange Dress’ and did not get ‘One Great Love’

By R Juan de Abril

I used to look forward to the early Metro Manila Film Festival (MIFF) handled by respected film-makers like national artists Lino Brocka, Ishmael Bernal and Eddie Romero every Christmas season because it delivered the best and unforgettable movies. But not anymore, not in this season and “uso” of meaningless slapstick and romantic movies.

Today, mostly, if all, low quality and waste of time and money movie entries dominate the festival, you end up wishing the organizers behind it know and understand what the word festival means- a special collection of the best and most sensible to raise the consciousness, intelligence and sensitivity of society, other than making them to empty, shallow laughter and then forgotten.

It is disappointing that the twisted idea of giving priority to mediocre slapstick and predictable romances lord it over and feed the contented “masa.” This is why this country’s creative taste remained desperately wanting.

The organizers, producers and artists never care about the essence and spirit of a festival as a tribute to quality art in an aspiring society. All they want is to make money, money. Where in the world that a supposedly major festival for a national audience come up with only one or two worthwhile entries out of eight average, painful entries? Haay, Pinoy lang talaga? To think we comfort and tell ourselves we are world-class talents.

The first week of this year’s MMFF, I managed to see three movies out of curiosity and against hopeless hope that maybe things will be better. I saw “Aurora” and I must say I was touched and proud too. It is worth-watching, a real pang-festival movie.

I believe it’s also the first Pinoy movie that tackle the much needed issue on sea tragedies and corruption inflected on the Filipino people and this is it. It’s a powerful, creative piece.

Yes, it is a movie worth-watching, even to pretentious middle-class who has never or lose faith to the local creative film industry. Worth citing is the writing and excellent cinematography.

This is real, sensible Pinoy story. Every one of us islanders experience this and reflects our sense of values and strength in times of challenges. This is a kind of a movie that we need.

Yes, again, it’s a festival-quality drama that leaves a mark to one’s memory and even haunts.This is the meaning and depth of an elevated art piece.

The two other entries, both romantic ventures are not much to crow about. But then what do we expect from this genre? Both are run-of-the-mill, so familiar from mainstream movies of old. There is nothing new at all-“gasgas” as they say.

Well, average young and not-so-young people still get “kilig” and maybe that’s what they want to pay for. Should we quarrel with taste? Maybe we should, if only we can help raise up the creative taste and march of this republic.

Artwork courtesy of Skeptica

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