Theater-hopping: Your Sineng Pambansa cheat sheet

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Hot on the heels of our Cinemalaya high comes another film festival that would send us hopping from one theater to another.

The Film Development Council of the Philippines teamed up with SM Cinemas to mount the Sineng Pambansa National Film Festival 2013. Dubbed the “All-Masters Edition,” the festival features new works from some of the country’s most accomplished filmmakers.

To help you figure out which films to watch first, Super prepared this Sineng Pambansa cheat sheet:

“Sonata”

The directors:  Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes

The stars: Cherie Gil, Joshua Pineda, Chino Jalandoni, Richard Gomez

The story: An opera diva loses her voice and returns to her hometown where she, with the help of a young boy, rediscovers art and the healing power of love.

Quick quote: “Nakakabingi talaga ’pag masyadong tahimik.”

Why you should watch it: It’s been said over and over—it’s not just a film but also a beautiful love letter to Negros.

Why we can’t wait to watch it: “Sonata” is written by Wanggo Gallaga.

 

“Ano Ang Kulay ng mga Nakalimutang Pangarap?”

The director: Jose Javier Reyes

The stars: Ryan Agoncillo, Jackie Lou Blanco, Bobby Andrews, Chynna Ortaleza, Kim Rodriguez, Alwyn Uytingco, Rustica Carpio

The story: Teresa has spent 60 years of her life serving a family as a nanny. Now that the family matriarch has died, the children must decide on Teresa’s fate.

Quick quote: “Huwag mo iisiping tinuturing ka nilang kamag-anak. Mabait sila sa’yo dahil napapakinabangan ka.”

Why you should watch it: If you’ve had a yaya or helpers leaving their homes and their families to work for you, this film can be an eye-opener, a great way to see things from their perspective.

Why we can’t wait to watch it: Because the trailer alone made us cry.

“Otso”

The director: Elwood Perez

The stars: Vincent M. Tañada, Anita Linda

The story: Lex, a Los Angeles-based screenwriter, returns to Manila and attempts to write a script for an indie film.

Quick quote: “Ang mga demonyo, paminsan-minsan maaaring magkunwaring anghel para makagawa ng kasamaan sa kanilang kapwa.”

Why you should watch it: Because it’s been 10 years since Elwood Perez made a film, and critics have called this one a brave choice.

Why we can’t wait to watch it: Because we are intrigued by the line, “The truth is not what it seems.”

“Isang Tag-araw ni Twinkle”

The director: Gil M. Portes

The stars: Rina Reyes, Cris Villanueva, Pinky Amador, Arnold Reyes, Ellen Adarna

The story: A young girl deals with her drug addiction and reconnects with her biological father who is dying of cancer.

Quick quote: “Dumating na ’yung araw na kinatatakutan natin.”

Why you should watch it: It’s not just about teenage rebellion; it’s about family and two very different fathers—a retired general and a former NPA rebel.

Why we can’t wait to watch it: We want to see Rina Reyes back on screen.

“Tinik”

The director: Romy Suzara

The stars: Ricardo Cepeda, Lemuel Pelayo

The story: A middle-aged gay couturier confronts his homosexuality and fights for love.

Quick quote: “Paano mo susuungin ang daang matinik patungo sa tunay na pag-ibig?”

Why you should watch it: Because Romy Suzara waited a long time to direct this film, and now we can finally see it.

Why we can’t wait to watch it: We want to see how this compares to “Lihis.”

“Eman”

The director: Tikoy Aguiluz

The star: Derek Ramsay

The story: “Eman” is a biopic about Emmanuel Lacaba, the poet warrior of the Philippines.

Quick quote: In the absence of a trailer, we offer you a quote from Eman Lacaba’s “Open Letters to Filipino Artists”: “We are tribeless and all tribes are ours. We are homeless and all homes are ours. We are nameless and all names are ours. To the fascists we are the faceless enemy who come like thieves in the night, angels of death: The ever moving, shining, secret eye of the storm.”

Why you should watch it: You need to get to know Eman Lacaba, who harnessed the power of words and became a revolutionary.

Why we can’t wait to watch it: Two words: Derek Ramsay

“Lauriana”

The director: Mel Chionglo

The stars: Bangs Garcia, Allen Dizon, Victor Basa

The story:  A story of obsession and abuse set in the 1950s.

Quick quote: “Hindi mo ako totoong mahal.”

Why you should watch it: This psychological thriller promises to be a dark and disturbing ride.

Why we can’t wait to watch it: The trailer is intense.

“Badil”

The director: Chito S. Roño

The story: A tale of corruption at its lowest level; “Badil” follows Nonoy, a young boy who takes over his sick father’s duties on the eve of elections in their small barrio.

Why you should watch it: We are swimming in so many tales of real-life corruption that maybe this film can provide a little enlightenment  or at least a short break from the pork barrel disaster.

Why we can’t wait to watch it: Because the movie is cloaked in secrecy—we don’t even know who’s starring in it.

“Lihis”

The director: Joel Lamangan

The stars: Jake Cuenca, Lovi Poe, Isabelle Daza, Joem Bascon, Gloria Diaz

The story: Two communist rebels develop an intimate relationship in the middle of the martial law era.

Quick quote: “Kung masyado kang naka-kahon, marami kang hindi makikita.”

Why you should watch it: This film could be our “Brokeback Mountain”—except that Ricky Lee actually wrote the script to “Lihis” long before that Ang Lee film came out.

Why we can’t wait to watch it: Because we know there is so much more to this film than just the much talked-about steamy scenes. It’s about love, frustration, discovery    and one of the darkest times of our history.

“Bamboo Flowers”

The director: Maryo J. Delos Reyes

The stars: Mylene Dizon, Irma Adlawan, Max Collins, Miggs Cuaderno, Orlando Sol, Leandro Baldemor

The story: Set in Bohol, this film follows the lives of people of different ages dealing with different struggles—a mother who needs to learn to let go; a boy who needs to grow up; a young widow; a bully; unsure lovers; a girl at a crossroads.

Quick quote: “Hindi naman tayo mabubuhay sa puro saya lang.”

Why you should watch it: Maryo J. Delos Reyes wants to show you the other side of his home province.

Why we can’t wait to watch it: We are big fans of Irma Adlawan.

Tribute

The festival will also pay tribute to Celso Ad. Castillo by screening his last film, “Bahay ng Lagim” and the documentary “The Gospel According to Celso Kid.” Restored versions of Lino Brocka’s Maynila: Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag” and Manuel Conde’s “Genghis Khan” will also be screened.

Sineng Pambansa runs Sept. 11 to 17 at all SM Cinemas nationwide.

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