“Respeto,” named Best Picture in the 2017 Cinemalaya festival, will have its commercial release nationwide on Sept. 20, on the eve of the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law.
Directed by Alberto “Treb” Monteras II, “Respeto” tells the story of Hendrix (Abra), a young man amid the poverty, squalor, crime and corruption of the urban jungle, who dreams of becoming a champion rapper.
Needing to find the right words and literary education, he meets Doc (Dido de la Paz), an old poet who suffers from the trauma of martial law.
Hendrix seeks personal liberation in the future while Doc seeks redemption from the past: Can they save each other?
“Respeto” was the unanimous Best-picture choice of the Cinemalaya international jury composed of Indian filmmaker-professor Padmashri Girish Kasaravalli; French-educated Hong Kong critic and filmmaker Freddie Wong; young indie filmmaker Sherron Dayoc; cinematographer Lee Meily; and Inquirer critic-editor Lito Zulueta.
“Respeto” was cited by the jury “for its infectious, propulsive energy; its highly convincing cast of characters and very effective ensemble acting; its breathtaking, nearly epic sweep of the underside of Manila; its expert application of the resources of cinema to depict a teenager’s drive to rise above poverty and violence; its cogent melding of contemporary rap and traditional oral literature; and its sheer humanity and coruscating poetry.”
Abra, himself a popular hip-hop musician, was acclaimed for his performance. De la Paz won Best Supporting Actor.
“Respeto” also won Best Sound and Best Editing, the Network for the Promotion of Asia Pacific Cinema (Netpac) Best Picture and Audience Choice award.
The Varsitarian of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) will hold an invitational premiere of “Respeto” on Sept. 17, 2 p.m., at the Thomas Aquinas Research Center auditorium.
After the showing, the Varsitarian will hold a reception in honor of Monteras and the “Respeto” crew and cast led by Abra on the lobby of the Tan Yan Kee Student Center Building.
Monteras is a graduate of the UST College of Fine Arts and Design (Bachelor of Fine Arts in Advertising, 2001) and a former art director of the Varsitarian.
The reception will also launch of the Varsitarian’s 90th anniversary (1928-2018) celebration. —CONTRIBUTED