The 50 Best Filipino Films of the 21st Century

 

30. Anacbanua

Christopher Gozum, 2009

Anacbanua4

“For a film like Anacbanua to be made speaks of the times, of the reality that multiplies itself as much as fiction does. The young poet returns to his roots to have himself healed — to free himself from the angst that he feels, the spiritual sickness that grips him as he dreads the materiality of the mundane. What does he find? What does he not find? What else has changed? What else can change? Filmmaker Christopher Gozum films images the way an impressionist painter dabs his brush on his tableau, not only careful to achieve the effect he wants, but also careless to discover an exciting mistake.” – Richard Bolisay, Lilok Pelikula / CNN Philippines

How to watch: Stream here, or contact Sine Caboloan to purchase a copy – 0918 291 3166

 

29. Kinatay

Brillante Mendoza, 2009 

Kinatay2

“Sa pelikula, 24 oras na tinunghayan ang buhay ni Peping (Coco Martin) isang estudyante ng criminology, gayong mayroong nang karanasan sa kotongan. Ang araw ng kanyang kasal at panlabas na gawain para sa pulisya ay ang magiging binyag nito sa sindikato. Ito ang gabi ng pagpatay (‘chop-chop’) sa babaeng nagtraydor sa sindikato. Malinaw ang artikulasyon ng politikal sa pelikula ni Mendoza—ang antas ng korapsyon sa panlabas na gawain ng pulisya; ang mga estudyante na maaga pa lang ay kalahok na sa unprofesyonalismo ng kanilang profesyon; ang pang-araw-araw na inisiasyon sa karahasan; ang panganib ng pagiging babae sa hypermaskulidad ng sindikato. Sa huli, ang binyag ni Peping ay isang gabi na hindi na niya muling maibabalik. Ito na ang simula ng kanyang katapusan. Nawala na ang innocence, kahanay na niya ang iba pang kasapi ng sindikato. Kung sa babae ay literal na kinatay, ang kay Peping ay figuratibo, sa antas ng kanyang pagkatao.” – Rolando Tolentino, Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino

How to watch: iflix; or contact Centerstage Productions to purchase a copy – teeda.pascual@centerstageprod.com, (02) 5319831

 

28. Kubrador

Jeffrey Jeturian, 2006 

Kubrador4

“In that maze of dregs and dirt, the camera of Roberto Yñiguez is ruthlessly pursuing the woman that is now both the prey and the hunter, not giving in, threatening to bump real walls and show real falls. When she does come out and finds her way, it is into a world, less dark perhaps but no less poorer. The shadows retreat and give way to light but we know where that light will soon go. In Kubrador, hope is tremblingly tiny but present, persistent, and powerful. In the film, bad politics and its companion structured inequality are troublingly present, persistent, powerful—and offers the tiniest of hope and social reform. The chance of winning is small, survival is a gamble—like life for many in the nation. That discourse was quite a big gamble for this film. Fortunately, it won its bet.” – Tito Genova Valiente

How to watch: iflix

 

27. Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan

Lav Diaz, 2013 

Norte

Norte feels like a capstone, a summation of everything Diaz loves about and finds so profound in Dostoevsky, a transmutation of the writer’s melodramatic genius into grist for his more distanced, more emotionally chilled films. It’s also, I think, a kind of farewell. In Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov is confronted by his sister Dounia and by Sonya, and between them they halt his spiraling descent. Diaz provides no such safety net for Fabian: he’s with a woman for a while, and then forgets her; he goes to his sister Hoda, who, like Dounia, is intensely religious, and—well, let’s just say Diaz doesn’t seem to think either love or faith are the answers to life’s problems, or at least to Fabian’s. Joaquin makes a somewhat more persuasive case for salvation with his Sonya-like wife Eliza (the quietly wonderful Angeli Bayani), but they don’t come out much better in the end either.” – Noel Vera

How to watch: Email sineoliviapilipinas@gmail.com to purchase a copy

 

26. Dekada ‘70

Chito Roño, 2002

Dekada

“Hangga’t patuloy na inililibing sa puntod ng kasaysayan ang panahong (Batas Militar), patuloy na magmumulto ang mga Pilipinong itinimbuwang ng karahasan sa gitna ng pambansang pakikibaka laban sa diktadura. Ito ang halaga ng pelikulang Dekada ’70 na hindi kayang igpawan ng mga kaalinsabay nito-pagbalik-tanaw sa panahong nagluwal sa mga bayaning walang pangalan tungo sa paglaya ng bayan. Habang nagsasawalang kibo ang maraming Pilipino sa tunay na kabuluhan ng panahong ito, patuloy na gagamitin ng iba’t ibang pwersa ang kilusang naipundar ng luha at dugo ng mga Pilipinong nagmahal sa sariling bayan. Isang testimonya ang pelikula sa kamalayang hindi magagapi at patuloy na magsasatinig sa katotohanan.” – Ariel Valerio, Young Critics Circle

How to watch: Try Video 48 to purchase a copy – simon.santo48@gmail.com, (02) 373 2936; or any DVD store in the Philippines

 

25. Iskalawags

Keith Deligero, 2013 

Iskalawags-2

Observers of Cebuano cinema almost always note the unique Bisaya humor that permeates its films: strains of the populist folk comedy in beloved classic Ang Manok ni San Pedro (1977) are evident not just in 21st century films intended as comedies but even in films that depict serious themes (poverty and migration in Ang Damgo ni Eleuteria, urban anomie in Aberya, gender discrimination in Miss Bulalacao). Nowhere is this more apparent than in Keith Deligero’s bildungsroman of rural youths weaned on 80’s Tagalog action films. Only a local filmmaker could bottle that quirky mix of youthful testosterone, children’s naughty folk songs (any 80’s Bisaya kid knows by heart the bawdy version of Jose Mari Chan’s “Christmas in Our Hearts”), and carefree island-life abandon that Deligero delivered. Stand By Me may have been its unconscious influence, but Iskalawags one-ups its Hollywood counterpart courtesy of its perfect wistful ending: when the boys discover that their action star idol is all-too-human after all, there’s nothing left to do but grow up. – SL

How to watch: Contact Cinema One Originals to purchase a copy

 

24. Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa

Alvin Yapan, 2011 

Sayaw

“For lack of a better term, believe me, the optimal praise we can give Yapan’s work is that it has poetry written and sung all over it. The poetic tone of the film, however, is really more than the sound and fury of that literary form. Yapan actually uses poetry as lines and as sound and as colors. The director initiates the movement out of the lines from poetry; the metaphors and the turn in and of each word occupy space and time. Where the recitation or the reception of lines from the poems brings the urge to slow down a scene or even stop the rhythm of the narrative, this does not happen in Sayaw. What happens is the lines become a current through which subtle and not-so-subtle messages are transported. What happens is that the poems fill the air and give the characters dark clouds to gaze at or portals to traverse.” –  Tito Genova Valiente

How to watch: Contact Cinemalaya Foundation to purchase a copy – cinemalaya.ccp@gmail.com, (02) 832 1125

 

23. Ang Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio

Mario O’Hara, 2010

paglilitis

“Filmmaker/stage actor Dennis Marasigan points out that the term moro-moro colloquially suggests ‘a predetermined outcome,’ in that the moro (the Muslim) will always be vanquished by the Christian hero–in other words, O’Hara in his choice of theatrical form reveals his attitude towards the veracity and integrity of the trial (don’t bother defending yourself, the verdict has long since been decided). It’s a song-and-dance still being practiced today, in the field of public opinion, in the arena of politics (don’t bother voting, the winner has long since been decided). But that doesn’t even get to the heart of this bewitching, bothersome, bewildering film. An alternate title could be The Passion of Andres–not just because its record of suffering and death closely parallels Christ’s but because the film after all is said and done is a love story.” – Noel Vera

How to watch: Contact Cinemalaya Foundation to purchase a copy – cinemalaya.ccp@gmail.com, (02) 832 1125

 

22. Riddles of My Homecoming

Arnel Mardoquio, 2013 

Riddles (2)

“Sensory attacks and sensations provide stories that swell up from exhilarating and intoxicating figures and events that transform the screen from empty canvas to something overflowing with scenes, only for the canvas to be drained again to allow more images, more actions, more disturbing figures that tell stories only to be interrupted by some more stories. Mardoquio proves once more he remains the unheralded critical chronicler of the Mindanao we barely know. With its deceptively dreamy cinematography, the film about riddles takes all of us to the many brinks of remembrance and allows us, in the end, to confront multiple memories about battles fought for interests not for those who die for them, of politics and religion that serve dominant ideologies, of a hegemony from the center that strangles the peripheral.” – Tito Genova Valiente

How to watch: Contact Cinema One Originals to purchase a copy

 

21. Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay

Antoinette Jadaone, 2011 

lilia-cuntapay1

Antoinette Jadaone’s debut feature is a mockumentary that follows Lilia Cuntapay’s journey after finding out that she was up for her first career nomination. At the heart of the movie is Nanay Lilia, a face that has haunted our childhoods for so long, but in this, she trades horror for humor and heart. What makes Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay more special is how it foreshadowed its own fate; not only did it give us a newfound appreciation for Nanay Lilia, but also put a spotlight on all the bit players and the unsung heroes of the same industry it serves. It’s a film that has set trends and, at the same time, paid its tribute. – Nicole Latayan, Tit for Tat

How to watch: Contact Cinema One Originals to purchase a copy

 

1  2  3  4  5

Advertisements