Verdict: Value for Money

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 3.77 (22 ratings)

Genre: Drama

Writer/Director: Adolfo B. Alix, Jr.

Cast:  Ananda Everingham, Zanjoe Marudo, Luis Alandy, Rocky Salumbides, Kiki Sugino, Angeli Bayani

Synopsis:  Julian, a Filipino soldier stationed in Kota Island, is ready to leave Kalayaan. He already completed his three months of service. News of a pending coup d’ etat in Manila orders him to stay in the island until further notice. With nothing much to do, he spends his waiting hours walking by the beachfront, cleaning his rifle, watching porn, listening to songs on his old radio to overcome boredom and loneliness. He also has to contend with ‘someone’ seemingly watching him. Not until his officer from the main island sends the loud mouth Lucio and the newbie Eric to station with him on the island. Their moments together – chatting, drinking, playing basketball and exchanging stories about a ghost soldier opens up things that Julian tries to forget. He is now confronted with a growing loneliness and remembers a traumatic experience in his past, which he doesn’t want to talk about. His only option for survival is to cope with reality or lose his own sanity.

Trailer: 

Reviews:

5.0       Rolando Tolentino (Pinoy Weekly)

“At ito ang nagpapaiba kay Alix bilang direktor, na ang kanyang pelikula ay nakaugat sa naratibo at sumasanga sa visual take, pati na rin ng iba pang elemento… Dito nanggagaling ang artistikong bisyon at integridad ng direktor, na iba-iba ang naratibo ng kanyang mga pelikula, at iba-iba rin ang pinipiling visual take sa mga ito.” (Read full review)

5.0       Noli Manaig (Closely Watched Frames)

“There can be no doubt, Kalayaan is one of the superlative films at this year’s Cinemalaya.” (Read full review)

5.0      Macky Macarayan (Death of Traditional Cinema)

“Albert Banzon’s cinematography captures the environment majestically. Teresa Barrozo’s eerie music creates mystery. As a result, Kalayaan becomes not a movie, but an experience.” (Read full review)

4.5       Zig Marasigan (Lagarista)

“Art house psychological horror; if ever there was such a thing. Alix’s latest work successfully captures a man’s slow descent into madness, set against a political backdrop that is now only being explored in Philippine cinema.” (Read full review)

4.5       Nicol Latayan (Back to the Frying Pan)

“I actually find this film very therapeutic; each scene brings you right where the character is, and the good thing about it is that it lingers.” (Read full review)

4.5       Lyndon Maburaot (Table Stretcher)

“If anything, Kalayaan is a well-directed piece. Bold and daring; reminiscent of Alix’s previous effort, Liberacion, only this is more gripping.”

4.5       Ed Ramirez (Cinephiles)

“When nature betrays man, horror of mystic proportions happen. One of the must see titles in this year’s Cinemalaya.”

4.5        Dodo Dayao (Cinephiles)

“Beautifully fucked-up.”

4.0       Philbert Dy (Click the City)

“It offers up a couple of really arresting images that serve as symbol for the utter pointlessness of the conflict over the Spratly Islands.” (Read full review)

4.0        Skilty Labastilla (Young Critics Circle)

“This is, without a doubt, Albert Banzon’s best work to date. It is as much his film as it is Adolf Alix’s. Viewers will remember the film’s striking imagery more than they would the story. More than the postcard-ready images, though, Alix cooks up a beautiful dark twisted fantastical tale of a man’s descent to madness amidst an island paradise. Imagine the strange, spellbinding homoeroticism of Beau Travail sprinkled with a serving of crazy from Apocalypse Now and a dash of twisted version of Dyesebel and you’ll have a vague idea of what the film is like.”

4.0        Don Jaucian (Philippine Star)

“Alix stretches time and myth to evoke the paralyzing loneliness and alienation of these soldiers to a maddening breaking point.” (Read full review)

4.0        Jude Defensor (We Talk About Movies)

“Not everybody, probably even just a minority, is going to appreciate its flawed and unsettling beauty, but we sorely need art like this.” (Read full review)

4.0        Scud in Real Life

“The night scenes are wicked in a what-is-going-to-happen-to-him-in-the-dark way. Terrific.” (Read full comment)

4.0        Manuel Pangaruy (Tagailog Special)

“Malaki ang naiambag ng cinematographer na si Albert Banzon upang mailatag ang kinakailangang espasyo ng sundalo sa kanyang trono ng dagat, white sand at mangroves habang nakikipagbuno sa mga elemento nitong nakikita at hindi nakikita.” (Read full comment)

4.0        Nico Quejano (Cinephiles)

“Wow, this is a gorgeous, gorgeous movie. Postcard after postcard. and a score to die for. I wouldn’t mind going mad if it would be this pretty.”

3.5        Cathy Peña (Make Me Blush)

Kalayaan is a vivid visual dissertation on solitude and a man’s descent into lunacy.” (Read full review)

3.5         Ira Lastrilla (Cinephiles)

“It’s probably Albert Banzon’s and Teresa Barrozo’s best work. However, I thought the film was so predictable, since its pacing only suggested some kind of Big Reveal towards the end. Still the best looking – and sounding – film of the festival (at least from the little I’ve seen), and the turtle obviously gave the performance of the year.”

3.0        Present Confusion

“It’s definitely not for everybody, as evidenced by the number of people walking out in the middle of the film. But the itneresting thing about it is when shit does hit the fan, it’s terribly interesting. And extremely weird.” (Read full review)

2.5        Andy Briones (Visual Velocity)

Kalayaan is a minor film in Alix’s repertoire. Don’t expect too much, enjoy Everingham’s wonderful acting and take the movie’s pretense with a grain of salt.” (Read full review)

2.0       Santiago Tiongco (Philippine Online Chronicles)

“In the end, you emerge from the film wondering whether a monstrously complex and subtle metaphor has just flitted past you unnoticed, or if you have just lost approximately two hours of your life.” (Read full review)

2.0        Pia Posadas (Katipunan)

“Its attempt to make a statement about the risks involved in the race to find oil is commendable but Alix’s treatment is heavy-handed. The conclusion of the story is abrupt and leaves the audience hanging—and not in a good way.” (Read full review)

1.0         Mario Bautista (Showbiz Portal)

“The main drawback is that we do not invest any emotions in Ananda’s character simply because we don’t know anything about him other than that he wants to masturbate while watching porn.” (Read full review)