My reviews on the Cinemalaya 2017 entries

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

Note: To avoid confusion, glowing stars show rate given. This post will be updated as soon as author watches every Cinemalaya entry.

1. Kiko Boksingero by Thop Nazareno (🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟/⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

kikoboksingero
Poster from cinemalaya.org

Francis Arcenas, or Kiko (Noel Comia, Jr.), was left to the care of his nanny Diday (Yayo Aguila), to the point that he was almost spoiled. Apparently, his mother has died and his father George (Yul Servo) left him. He was also supposed to be fetched by his US-based aunt soon.

As the film progressed, Kiko faced many struggles. Wanting to become a boxer, he kept on coming back to his estranged father’s house to train using a red potholder made of lace and the latter’s worn-out punching bag; Diday would never know this was the reason why Kiko would often come home late until later. His two male classmates would often tease him as supot (uncircumcised). He was longing to have a father.

George would later come home to Baguio, and would meet again his son Kiko. The latter would later learn more about his father’s skills and achievements as a boxer, and more.

This film could have been made as a short film, as the plot was so simple it could have been made in a very simple way. The long-exposed shots in the film made it quite boring to watch and wanting for it to end soonest.

Also, there were lots of unresolved issues which the film presented. What could have been the reason why George left Kiko? Why is Kiko cold about his transfer to the US? Who could have been talking to George on the phone, that made him say he is sick of staying longer in Baguio? This is what I could remember haha.

However, one could understand the seemingly boring, long-exposed shots in the film. One scene highlighted both the excitement and awkwardness of how George and Kiko bonded through their boxing trainings. Towards the end of the film, a day after Kiko found George’s house had been padlocked and that no voice from inside could answer his calls, Kiko stared long while Diday was preparing the table.

Comia was so sincere in portraying Kiko, especially at the times when he felt awkward at George. Servo’s and Aguila’s portrayals of their characters even complimented the kid’s depiction of his role that the viewer seems to be given the opportunity to feel what was really happening on this broken family.

Lest we forget the great shots of Baguio, especially those of the landmarks like Teacher’s Camp and the top views at night which made it look like a sparkling jewel!

After all, the film was about a kid longing for a father’s love, and his realization to become independent and responsible to himself and to the ones he love. This theme was portrayed in a stunningly simple way, which could be both its strength and its weakness.

Kiko Boksingero was a delight for the eyes, with the great shots of Baguio City, with Comia’s heartwarming charm, and with the plot depicted so simply yet so sincerely.

 

2. Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha by Mes de Guzman (🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟/⭐⭐⭐⭐)

angpamilyanghindilumuluha
Poster from cinemalaya.org

There was an urban legend about *see poster*, who gave a certain community an abundant harvest of onions and more kinds of good luck. However, the daughter one day kept on weeping. The family later decided to live in the mountains, but they would later tear apart. The community later experienced misfortune.

Upon learning about this urban legend, Cora dela Cruz from Pagsanjan (Sharon Cuneta), a TV reporter and a manager of her family’s onion business, wanted to work on finding the members of *see poster*. Through her newly-hired house helper Bebang (Moi Marcampo), Cora would seek the help of Bebang’s uncle Bitong (Nino Muhlach) to look for the family members.

But before the search, Cora’s family had been torn apart for her habit of drunkenness, and perhaps for other reasons. She only relied on Bebang’s company to keep her sane.

The plot flow was quite confusing, to the point that it could no longer be different to a teleserye or just another “mainstream” movie with many sub-plots. Aside from Cora’s struggles on her family ties and her career, the *see poster* also presented other issues; in particular the scenes where Cora saw lighted red candles inside her guest house where at first the parents of *see poster* were staying, and Edcel (Kiko Matos) bringing ladies to the same guest house supposedly for his sexual pleasure.

At some point, the viewer might had thought if Tiyo Bitong (Muhlach) only recruited the members of the *see poster* just so they could be paid for their disguise, and so he could be paid by Cora for his service. Oh well, this was resolved towards the end.

The viewer could also have left the cinema house wondering what could have caused Cora’s family to part ways, and who brought them back to her.

However, I must forgive these and give my praises to the script of the entire film, which brought the viewers to a roller-coaster of emotions, that is one moment you get to laugh so hard and then suddenly you feel the pain!

The script brought out the best of the Cuneta and Marcampo tandem. They looked so compatible and really funny to watch with lots of exchange of sarcastic and silly banter.

I cannot end this post without saying it might had been the first time I saw the Megastar Sharon Cuneta go on full beast mode!!! That was really surprising.

Overall, the superb portrayals of the three lead characters made Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha a movie that was still bearable to watch despite the confusion in the plot flow, and can both tickle souls and sting hearts.

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