Monthly Archives: April 2016

Dyamper: The Leap of the Desperate

Nonoy L. Lauzon

Sinag Maynila, the indie filmfest founded by Cannes-winning director Brillante Mendoza and big-league producer Wilson Tieng, has just opened its edition for the year. Sure to stand out among the official selection is Mes de Guzman’s Dyamper. The film is so good that it should not have any difficulty landing in the main competition of any of the world’s accredited A-list festivals that it may subsequently choose to enter.

From the time he won the Grand Prize Golden Star in Marrakech for his short feature Batang Trapo (2002), followed by the splash he made in San Sebastian with the full-length feature Ang Daan Patungong Kalimugtong (2005), de Guzman has proven to be one of the very few Filipino filmmakers who truly deserve to be highly esteemed by the international film community.

In Dyamper, de Guzman exceeds all his past triumphs with an oeuvre that could put many films to shame in their stab at social realism. None of them compares with the verisimilitude by which the filmmaker has infused in his latest release to provide audiences a peek into an otherwise unknown backwoods of rural life in the country. In scope and scale, the film is hard to match even by the most revered of European films that have been the toast in recent years of the prestigious film festivals circuit worldwide.

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 7.56.08 PM

Kristoffer King, in a scene from Mes de Guzman’s Dyamper

exudes the level of cinema only the likes of the Dardenne brothers, Michael Haneke, and Ken Loach can readily dish out. From the opening frame to its last, the film is every inch a winner with its tapestry of overlapping narratives, each with the stirrings of a morality tale played out against the vast canvas of circumstances indicative, incriminating, and indicting of the failed nation-state of the filmmaker’s affiliation and possible dismay and disaffection.

Unlike many of his contemporaries in the local indie scene, de Guzman has the keen eye for his milieu and the subjectivity to protest and make his stand against the harsh realities that his camera seeks to capture. Not content with offering a mere exposé, he provides immersed viewers with full-blown analysis and dissection of the entire apparatus of social order from which the plot of his film emanates.

Who would have thought that a slice-of-life look at a modus of banal criminality in the wilderness of the country’s northern hinterlands can divulge so much about the character of its people, their general contempt for the law, and an instance of government absenteeism that can only lead to repercussions of untoward devastation?

In employing a unique filmic methodology, de Guzman has come up with a feature that precisely elevates viewers’ engagement into enlightenment and act of resolve – the better for films of today to be truly relevant, fulfilling, and ultimately of great service to all of humanity.


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Posted by on 21 April 2016 in Film Review


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Young Critics Circle names Da Dog Show best film of 2015

Da Dog Show, Ralston Jover’s film about a struggling dog trainer living with his two children inside a mausoleum in a public cemetery in Manila, is cited by the Young Critics Circle as 2015’s Best Film, while its lead actor, Lou Veloso, bagged the Best Performance award. Jover also won for Best Screenplay.


Lou Veloso (right) plays Sergio, a struggling dog trainer, in Da Dog Show


The best film award is Jover’s second from the academe-based critics group (after he won for 2009’s Bakal Boys) while his best screenplay prize is his third (after 2007’s Foster Child and 2013’s Porno).

Da Dog Show first screened in last year’s World Premieres Film Festival, which ran in several Metro Manila cinemas from June 29 to July 7.

Kidlat Tahimik’s Balikbayan #1 garnered two awards: Best Cinematography and Visual Design and Best Sound and Aural Orchestration, while Sherad Anthony Sanchez’s Salvage won Best Editing.

Three films were cited as Best First Features: Ari: My Life with a King (by Carlo Enciso Catu), Dayang Asu (by Bor Ocampo), and Miss Bulalacao (by Ara Chawdhury).

The critics group considered 115 films released in 2015 and narrowed them to a long list of 26 films. After several hours of deliberations, the long list was further winnowed down to a shortlist of 12 films. Per the group’s rules, only shortlisted films are eligible for nomination.

The awards ceremony is set on the 15th of September (Thursday), 3:00 pm at the Vargas Museum (University of the Philippines Diliman).

Below is the list of winners and nominees:



Winner: Da Dog Show, directed by Ralston Jover (Bessie Badilla, Jean Pierre Gimenez, Darlene Catly Malimas, Sven Schnell, producers)


Ari: My Life with a King, directed by Carlo Enciso Catu (Jocelyn Aniceto and Geromin Nepomuceno, Jr., executive producers; Ferdinand Lapuz, producer)

Balikbayan #1, directed by Kidlat Tahimik (Voyage Studios)

An Kubo sa Kawayanan, directed by Alvin Yapan (Alemberg Ang, Alvin Yapan, Ronald Rebutica, executive producers; Andrea Fe Quizon, line producer)

Mga Rebeldeng May Kaso, directed by Raymond Red (Daphne Chiu and Toni Vasquez, line producers)

Taklub, directed by Brillante Mendoza (Loreto Castillo, producer)



Winner: Da Dog Show (Ralston Jover)


Ari: My Life with a King (Robby Tantingco)

Balikbayan #1 (Kidlat Tahimik)

An Kubo sa Kawayanan (Alvin Yapan)

Mga Rebeldeng May Kaso (Raymond Red)

Salvage (Sherad Anthony Sanchez)

Taklub (Honeylyn Joy Alipio)



Winner: Lou Veloso, Da Dog Show


Nora Aunor, Taklub

Mercedes Cabral, Da Dog Show

Mercedes Cabral, An Kubo sa Kawayanan

Alessandra de Rossi, Bambanti

Ensemble cast (Epy Quizon, Felix Roco, Nicco Manalo, Earl Ignacio, Angela Cortez), Mga Rebeldeng May Kaso

Ensemble cast (Jessy Mendiola, JC de Vera, Barbie Capacio, Karl Medina, Joel Saracho), Salvage

Micko Laurente, Bambanti

Ronwaldo Martin, Ari: My Life with a King

Julia Montes, Halik sa Hangin



Winner: Balikbayan #1, Boy Yñiguez, Lee Briones, Abi Lara, Santos Bayucca, Kidlat de Guia, Kawayan de Guia, and Kidlat Tahimik (cinematography); Kidlat Tahimik (production design)


Bambanti, Joseph Delos Reyes and Ma. Solita Garcia (cinematography), Aped Santos (production design)

Da Dog Show, Carlo Mendoza (cinematography), Deans Habal (production design)

Halik sa Hangin, Moises Zee (cinematography), Manny Morfe (production design)

An Kubo sa Kawayanan, Ronald Rebutica (cinematography), Paolo Rey Mendoza Piaña (production design)

Miss Bulalacao, Christian Linaban (cinematography), Ernest Diño and Philip Sinajonon (production design)

Mga Rebeldeng May Kaso, Raymond Red (cinematography), Danny Red (production design)

Salvage, Malay Javier (cinematography), Joel Geolamen (production design)

Taklub, Odyssey Flores (cinematography), Harley Alcasid and Brillante Mendoza (production design)



Winner: Salvage (Lawrence Ang)


Balikbayan #1 (Charlie Fugunt, Abi Lara, Chuck Gutierrez, Clang Sison, Malaya Camporedondo)

Da Dog Show (Kats Serraon)

Halik sa Hangin (Beng Bandong)

An Kubo sa Kawayanan (Benjamin Tolentino)

Mga Rebeldeng May Kaso (Raymond Red and Erwin Toledo)

Shapes of Crimson (Emil James Mijares)



Winner: Balikbayan #1, Ed de Guia (sound), Los Indios de España and Shanto (music)


Ari: My Life with a King, Gilbert Obispo (sound), Jake Abella (music)

Halik sa Hangin, Addiss Tabong (sound engineer), Francis Concio (music)




Ari: My Life with a King (Carlo Enciso Catu)

Dayang Asu (Bor Ocampo)

Miss Bulalacao (Ara Chawdhury)



The YCC members who took part in the deliberations were Aristotle Atienza (Chair), Emerald Flaviano, Patrick Flores, Lisa Ito, J. Pilapil Jacobo, Skilty Labastilla, Jema Pamintuan, and Jaime Oscar Salazar.

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Posted by on 03 April 2016 in Philippine Film