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“Kintsugi,” “Death of Nintendo” lead YCC Nominations for 2020

Still from Death of Nintendo screener.

Kintsugi, Lawrence Fajardo’s drama about a Kapampangan ceramicist working in Japan that screened in the online edition of Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino; and Raya Martin’s Death of Nintendo, an ode to youth in the summer before the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption, which premiered at the QCinema International Film Festival, lead the nominations of the Young Critics Circle Film Desk, including Best Performance and Best Film.  

Only Kintsugi and Death of Nintendo received Best Film nominations. Four other films – Alyx Ayn Arumpac’s documentary Aswang, Dolly Dulu’s comedy The Boy Foretold by the Stars, Christian Acuña’s fantasy Magikland, and Jason Paul Laxamana’s drama He Who Is Without Sin – garnered nominations across the seven categories in the annual critic group’s citations for distinguished achievement in film. 

Still from Kintsugi screener.

Nominated for Best Performance (given to either lead or supporting role; or to an individual, duo, or ensemble) are Elijah Canlas (He Who Is Without Sin); Enzo Pineda and Canlas (duo performance for He Who Is Without Sin); Adrian Lindayag and Keann Johnson (duo performance for The Boy Foretold by the Stars); JC Santos for Kintsugi; Phi Palmos for Kinstugi; and Kim Chloe Oquendo, Noel Comia Jr., Jigger Sementilla, and John Vincent Servilla (ensemble for Death of Nintendo). 

YCC considered 52 films released for screening in 2020, many of which were distributed online after the COVID-19 lockdown in March forced the closure of movie houses and modified the production and programming of film festivals. After rounds of virtual deliberations, the critics group selected 10 films for a longlist, which was later trimmed into a shortlist of 4 films. YCC follows a rule of only nominating shortlisted films, with the exception of the Best First Feature category.  

Below is the complete list of nominations.

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Posted by on 18 April 2021 in 2020 Citations

 

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The Young Critics Circle Podcast Ep. 1 – Hinggil sa Paghanga

Stills mula sa trailer ng Fan Girl (2020) (kaliwa) at The Boy Foretold by the Stars (2020) (kanan).

Sa online edition ng Metro Manila Film Festival noong nakaraang Disyembre, parehong naging matagumpay ang mga pelikulang Fan Girl ni Antoinette Jadaone at The Boy Foretold by the Stars ni Dolly Dulu. Bukod sa nakamit na parangal ng mga ito, pinag-usapan din ang mga nasabing pelikula sa social media sa magkaugnay na dahilan—ang Fan Girl, sa tangka nitong pagpapaksa sa paghanga, hinahangaan, at tagahanga; at ang The Boy Foretold, sa pagsunod naman nito sa genre na itinataguyod ng lumalawak pang fandom ng boys’ love. Sa unang episode ng Young Critics Circle Podcast, pag-uusapan nina John Bengan, Christian Benitez, Andrea Anne Trinidad, at Jaime Oscar Salazar ang dalawang pelikula at ang diskurso ng paghanga’t fandom.

 

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Hinggil sa Realidad ng Pagiging Fangirl

Andrea Anne I. Trinidad

Fan Girl 2020 poster.jpg

Hayagang iginigiit ng pelikulang Fan Girl (Antoinette Jadaone, 2020) na isinasagawa nito ang pagsisiwalat ng kasalukuyang realidad ng bansa partikular na ang kalagayan ng mga kababaihan sa ilalim ng rehimeng Duterte. Sinusundan ng pelikula ang kuwento ng pagbuntot ni Jane (Charlie Dizon), isang fangirl, sa idolo nitong si Paulo Avelino. Sa pagsasara ng umiiral na distansiya sa pagitan ng tagahanga at iniidolo, unti-unting isisiwalat kay Jane ang lihim na katauhan ng hinahangaang aktor na siyang tutunaw sa marubdob nitong pagkiling at atraksiyon.

Sa pagsasakarakter ng isang tagahangang nasa rurok ng obsesyon, ginagawang madulas na lunsaran ng pelikula ang fangirling upang kilalanin, paringgan, at sa isang banda pangaralan pa nga ang lupon ng bulag na mga panatikong nagpapaandar (at pinaandar) ng kasalukuyang administrasyon. Bagaman kung nakararating ang ganoong pasaring sa madlang pilit nitong tinutukoy, o nananatili lang ba ulit sa isang espasyong matagal nang dumidiskurso sa gayong realidad ay iba pang usapin.

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Posted by on 06 January 2021 in Film Review

 

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Aftercare

Christian Jil R. Benitez

At the heart of existent populism is its plain irreverence to the body, especially of those who are excluded from what is commonly projected as “ordinary.” As such, surveillance has then become the predominant grammar of our times (nothing new, really, but definitely magnified today because enabled by facist structures in place): to be a brown trans woman in the “great American” landscape, to be a grimy young man in tattered clothes in streets of Manila—these often mean being seen right away, the body being subjected to forms of violent scrutiny. Vision has always been a question of power, and yet frequently left uninterrogated: in the contemporary Philippine cinema, to represent the ordinarily excluded often means simply turning the lens toward them, subjecting them to the same gaze. Attempts to render the “real” (another term generally overlooked) recurrently ends up idealized: a woman who finally confronts her perpetrator regresses to romanticized docility, throwing away the gun; the suffering of a child amid the war-torn Mindanao is skirted around and through melodrama. 

If contemporary Philippine cinema is to insist itself as relevant these days, for us, the Filipino audience, in the middle of the current regime, such similar gesture of “representation” does not certainly suffice. Perhaps all the more crucial now is an attempt to articulate what often cannot-be, which is to say, to render visually what cannot appear, because always elusive to our current surveilled vocabularies.

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Posted by on 20 December 2020 in 2019 Citations, Film Review

 

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The Body of Justice

Patrick Flores

The dogged and peripatetic camera of Raymundo Ribay Gutierrez signifies, anticipates, and sustains a pursuit. It is a pursuit of a locale: dense, thicket-like, nearly a mangrove of social tides and unruly species in a quarter in the sprawling metropolis of Manila. But while the frenzy of cinematic work pervades the atmosphere, the lens also incipiently dwells on a domestic sphere: a man, a woman, and their daughter. It is a tight study of a situation of intense emotional and physical violence. Dante (Kristoffer King) has time and again beaten his partner Joy (Max Eigenmann). When in one of these hostile episodes, their daughter Angel (Jordhen Suan) is hurt, Joy goes public. At this existential instance, what do we make of the woman? Avenger, feminist, sufferer? The pursuit shifts from locale to procedure.

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Posted by on 18 December 2020 in 2019 Citations, Film Review

 

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Shades of Youth: A Review of Cleaners

Tito Quiling, Jr.

Hearing the soft scratches of the eraser gliding over the chalkboard, wooden chairs scraping against the concrete floor polished by years with a bunót (coconut husk), leather and rubber soles squeaking as people cross the classroom, out the door, and into the hallway. The school bell rings throughout the campus, marking the beginning and end of a school day. With these sounds and images, Cleaners (2019) by Glenn Barit and his team opens a series of recollections that center on distinct stories before easing into a larger, collective narrative detailing moments that have gone by. 

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Posted by on 18 December 2020 in 2019 Citations, Film Review

 

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School of Life

Skilty Labastilla

A Is for Agustin, the debut feature of Grace Simbulan, follows Agustin Amado, an Aeta man in his early 40s whose hollow cheeks and sun-drenched, wrinkled skin provide quite a contrast to his child-like grin and gentle disposition. He and his wife make charcoal for a living: the middleman pays them P150 for each sack and sells the same sack for P250. This exploitation of the poor and uneducated is a fairly common scenario anywhere in the world, and it’s one of the reasons why Agustin decided to enroll himself in a public elementary school in his remote Zambales barrio. 

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Posted by on 17 December 2020 in 2019 Citations, Film Review

 

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Echo Chamber of Horrors

Jaime Oscar M. Salazar

Screencap from John Denver Trending (2019) screener.

In late 2017, a 15-year-old boy in Bago City, Negros Occidental died by suicide. His mother, a farmer, sought aid from an anti-crime civil society organization in shedding light on the circumstances of his death. It emerged that the boy, unbeknown to his family, had been blamed for stealing a classmate’s iPad.

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Posted by on 17 December 2020 in 2019 Citations, Film Review

 

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Adrift

Tessa Maria Guazon

The final scene in Eduardo Roy, Jr.’s Fuccbois (2019) perturbingly captured ill-fated Mico Reyes (Kokoy de Santos) and Ace Policarpio (Royce Cabrera) in a thicket; faces bloodied and bodies exhausted by a grueling escape from a local politician’s bodyguard. A call punctured their mounting terror and dread: it was from their agent Mother Dan asking whether they were on their way home. She confirmed Mico’s forthcoming shoot for a television series. The buzz and hum of forest life shrouded the nervous staccato of their breathing. The vastness surrounding them was a trap, as were the borders of their phone screens, the edges of a gay bar stage, the doors to the rooms of a vacation house, and the island that can only be reached or escaped from by boat. They were ensnared by various spaces where they gambled on their youth and risked their lives.

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Posted by on 16 December 2020 in 2019 Citations, Film Review

 

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Sour Times: A Review of Sila-Sila

John Bengan

What do breakup stories usually reveal? The tipping point when enough has been had, the tedium that erodes the bond, the gradual avalanche of small acts? Written by Daniel Saniana and directed by Giancarlo Abrahan, Sila-Sila (2019) tiptoes around these familiar routes and draws our attention to a character who is sometimes hard to root for, let alone pare down to easily explicable urges.    

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Posted by on 16 December 2020 in 2019 Citations, Film Review

 

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