Verdict: Proceed with Caution

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 2.88 (4 ratings)

Genre: Drama

Writer/Director: Gutierrez Mangansakan II

Cast: Perry Dizon, Alexis Libres, Mayka Lintongan, Ma. Victoria Beltran, Bein Ali Unayan, Rashid Alvarez

Synopsis: Rashid Ali returns to his Maguindanao hometown after studying and working for more than 25 years in Barcelona, Spain. Idealistic, he dreams of using what he learned in Europe to improve the lives of his people. But nothing has changed since he left. Politicians remain corrupt, poverty is widespread, his people desperate.

Frustrated, Rashid retreats to a decrepit family villa far away from town, with Racma the housemaid as his only companion. Their only connection to the world is Andal the family servant who delivers their weekly rations and Malik the postman. In seclusion Rashid writes to himself detailing the affairs of his day, combining his own experience and his opinion of the radio news everyday. These letters -written in Spanish— serve as Rashid’s memories, and his remaining connection to his adopted home. The act of writing becomes a refuge until an imminent war threatens the serenity.

Trailer (link): http://vimeo.com/31792182

Review:

3.0          Don Jaucian (Resident critic, Pelikula Tumblr)

“The movie, especially the version screened at the gala premiere, is not without faults. Sequences can be unbearably static and the Spanish voice over is a little stilted but Cartas still emerges a curiously intriguing film about one man’s loneliness and his coping.” (Read full review)

2.0         Carl Papa (Whatever, Carl)

“The whole story was very interesting as a matter of fact, but it was sooo glacially paced that you are almost out of patience when things start to happen.  But I do commend the film for its silent quest for freedom.” (Read full review)

Capsules:                        

4.0          Epoy Deyto (Film blogger, Kawts Kamote)

“Hindi ko alam na may mga ganito pa palang pelikula: mapag-hanap ng kalayaan. Kung saan lahat patungo ang pagdaloy.”

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

“Disappointing sophomore (feature) effort from Mangansakan. Story of a man’s depression as a result of his struggle to break free from society’s (religious, political, familial) expectations is ripe for possibilities, but the filmmaker still falls into the trap of going the route of the most common Pinoy gay story: middle class guy falls in love with younger, attractive, poorer straight guy who will only leave him in the end. Perry Dizon, as good an actor as he is, fails to imbue the role of Rashid with a certain gravitas. Also, the film needs a smidgen of humor — it’s too precious for its own good (the Spanish language voiceover and credits are just too much).”