Big Boy

Verdict: Value for Money

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 3.38 (13 ratings)

Genre: Drama, Experimental

Writer/Director: Shireen Seno

Cast: Ian Lomongo, Pam Miras, John Lloyd Evangelista

Synopsis: America has ‘liberated’ the islands, and the Philippines has just been proclaimed a new republic. Shot on color Super 8mm film, Big Boy is a coming-of-age tale about a boy and his family in 1950s Mindoro, and how he is groomed into becoming the poster boy for his parent’s home-based business. The film is an experimental portrait of a family amidst change — an experience that will engage audiences in something strange but familiar.

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Trailer link: http://vimeo.com/30278138

Reviews:

5.0          Noli Manaig (Film blogger, Closely Watched Frames)

“To some extent, Seno’s film mirrors Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s A Summer at Grandpa’s with its evocation of a happy childhood. Here with fondness are the wonder years: the parlor and outdoor games, the staunch playmates, the favorite songs, and the innocence. But in Big Boy, the innocent never dares to ask questions; his silence is unfairly fatal.” (Read full review)

4.0          Oggs Cruz (Film critic, Twitch)

Big Boy, in that sense, with its very intimate story of a town still enamored by its past as an American colony, weaves memories and fiction together into an intoxicating portrait of a people who are unable to forget.” (Read full review)

4.0          Don Jaucian (Resident critic, Pelikula Tumblr)

Big Boy is a suitcase of memories, a water tank of images and sound that floats and floods our consciousness triggered by sigils. As flickering as they may seem, these images wait in our heads, swirling, cascading.” (Read full review)

4.0          Dodo Dayao (Contributor, Lagarista)

“Its textures and rhythms take some getting used to but sink in and things could get not only wonderfully strange but also oddly warm and often lovely.” (Read full review)

4.0          Macky Macarayan (Film blogger, Death of Traditional Cinema)

“Amidst all the symbolism, surrealism, and variation of experimental techniques,  Seno achieves to recreate a memory of her father’s stories with enough tenderness for her subject.” (Read full review)

3.5          Philbert Dy (Resident critic, Click the City)

” It’s an incredibly intimate experience, the film sharing the smallest moments of this family’s life in these warm, inviting frames. The power of the film lies in how it reveals the otherwise imperceptible turmoil that exists between and parent and child, the suffering that becomes implicit in the search for a better life.” (Read full review)

1.5            Carl Papa (Whatever, Carl)

“There was no clear flow to the story, and I did not know where it was going to take me.  It was like a nostalgic trip to someone’s mind and I am unraveling his past.  But the last part felt like it swerved to something else, which puzzled me.” (Read full review)

1.0           Cathy Peña (Film blogger, Make Me Blush)

“In the film’s desperate bid to fill its cinematic canvas with so much extraneous footages, the use of a Super 8 quickly loses its novelty once you’ve realized the stark carelessness of the film making process. Employing the pseudo-documentary tack as an excuse to stage mediocre scenes becomes nothing but an indolent contrivance. It is lazy film making when you can’t even tell a straight story.” (Read full review)

Capsules:

5.0          Epoy Deyto (Film blogger, Kawts Kamote)

“Nagkaroon ako ng tatlong atake ng nostalgia, naisip ko yung elementary school namin dati bago ito ma-renovate. Kahit rural ang setting, na-feel ko pa rin. Hindi pumalya yung sinabi sa synopsis nito na mararamdaman mo dito ay tila iba ngunit pamilyar.”

4.0          Skilty Labastilla (Member, Young Critics Circle – Film Desk)

“For an experimental film, this is actually (surprisingly) very engaging — an ode to the joys of childhood spent in the province, where kids are forced to sleep by the elders on summer afternoons when all they’d want to do is play and wish summers would never end, and where families dress up (but never smile) for portraits. Director Seno has a keen eye for detail, her characters fully fleshed out they could only be inspired by real people close to her heart.

What could have been distracting/indulgent technical experimentation (blurring, shaky cam, frame flickers, asynchronous dubbing, muting to highlight ambient sounds [all borne out of the Super 8mm used]) actually serve to emphasize the fuzziness, the oftentimes unreliability of memory.

A few scenes toward the end could have been shortened, but overall, this is a very good first effort.”

4.0          Ian Urrutia (Film blogger, Pinoy Cinema Tumblr)

“Beautiful stuff. Surprisingly entertaining for an experimental film.”

3.0          Nico Quejano (Member, Cinephiles)

“It’s fascinating to watch. But super remembering John Torres sa pelikulang ito. Kinda going the Mapang-akit way. One shot even reminded me of my favorite scene in Mapang-akit.”

1.0           Fidel Antonio Medel (Film blogger, Pixelated Popcorn)

“If barrio kids in the 40s/50s were already making home videos, it will look like this. Through the use of Super 8 cameras, director Shireen Seno gives us a whiff of nostalgia. She captured the brittle and unreliable nature of memories. But the style easily wears off, what started out as a novel experiment becomes an arduous experience. When the film ended, we were all in awe… dumbfounded… either we were hypnotized or we were collectively contemplating on asking for a refund.”

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