Weird at kinda wonderful ang films sa Cinemalaya Shorts Set A. May X factor that allows each of the five short films to stand out. ‘Di mo iisipin na nasayang oras mo. Siyempe may favorite kami pero in general, as a group: Ayos lang.
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Noah del Rosario
GENRE: Fantasy, Drama
CAST: John Vincent Servilla | Carlos Dala | Himlay Payapa
Dalawang probinsiyanong mag-bestfriend sina Arman (Servilla) at Leo (Dala). They keep dream journals and would meet up para magkuwentuhan at magbigayan ng tips on how to shape their flights of fancy (animated by Top Peg). The more reticent of the two, Arman, feels that he is being followed—even haunted. When he confronts this specter, and the dreams bleed into reality, the boys are forced to reveal truths, suppressed feelings, and unresolved daddy issues. This dream-catcher story is well-conceptualized if roughly executed. Plus points para sa dalawang batang actor na magaling mag-emote sa harap ng kamera.
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Jose Ibarra Guballa
CAST: Martha Comia | Lao Rodriguez | Alvin Anson | Archie Adamos | Giro Alva | Rafael Raymundo | Lhet Navarro | Jan Michael Jamisola | Leandro Lorenzo
Pinaghalong cowboy movie at farce set in a stylized colonial past. Ang Maangas, ang Marikit at ang Makata (aka The Cool, the Fool, and the Lovely) starts piquantly with a manic pixie in baro’t saya (Comia) opening capiz windows wide and dancing in her sala. The catalyst, isang misteryosong estranghero named Alfonso Guerrero (Anson), rides into town on a white horse para maningil kay Kapitan (Adamos). Humingi si Alfonso ng directions kay Delfin (Rodriguez), an impassioned poet practicing his latest serenade para sa anak ng Kapitan na si Liwliw, yung closeted dancer. Delfin withholds his help, so the warrior finds his own way, and arrives unannounced to interrupt Liwliw’s gyrations. Nagkasunduan naman ang dalawa ngunit nahinto ang kanilang usapan nang dumating si Delfin para mangharana. Ang asaran at ‘di pagkakaunawan ay nahantong sa duwelo. Nang nakauwi rin ang lasing na si Kapitan, naging Mexican standoff. Personalities clash, a secret is revealed, blood flows, a wounded bird tries to fly free. Exciting! Sa paggamit ng music and lyrics (mula kay Giro Alva), ribald dialogue, and exaggerated gestures, buhay na buhay ang play. Grade A entertainment.
WRITERS/DIRECTORS: John Relano | Patrick Baleros | Luis Hidalgo
CAST: Himlay Payapa | Moises Magisa
Pagkatapos ng matagal na separasyon, umuwi si Ramon (Payapa) para bisitahin ang kanyang kapatid na si Doroteo (Magisa). The two hope to make up for lost time. Nagtagpo sila sa simbahan, nag-reminisce ng kanilang boyhood, nag-swap ng stories. Colors are hyped up but unifying: one brother’s bright orange tie matched by the other’s scarf; his blue shirt juxtaposed against the other’s blue jeans and Chucks. You see the twist coming from a mile away, pero it’s still a poignant minimalist portrait of love, regret, and the passage of time.
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Ogos M. Aznar
CAST: Perla Bautista | Tony Mabesa | Odette Khan
Madali kang ma-lost-in-translation dito. It minces words when it should expound, and explains too much when mas maiging mag-“show, don’t tell.” Simpleng storya na ginawang convoluted: a 70-year-old Chinese citizen, Linda (Bautista), together with her business tycoon husband, Felipe (Mabesa), tries to build the perfect Chinese family. A mysterious phone-call one night leaves them in dire straits and results in bankruptcy. To make matters worse, Felipe falls into a coma pa. By the end of the film, Linda compares her family’s disintegration to a paper mansion consumed by a funeral pyre. The one bright light in an otherwise dreary family drama is Linda’s scene-stealing, staunchly loyal kumare (Khan); dahil sa kanya, nakuha ni Linda ang kanyang drop-mic moment.
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Isabel Quesada
GENRE: Action, Black Comedy
CAST: Nonie Buencamino | Jojit Lorenzo | Joel Saracho | Elora Españo | Alex Medina | Jess Mendoza | Nova Villa | Shamaine Buencamino
The lives of two men intersect, and in a split-second, change direction. Interspersed scenes fool you into thinking na wala silang kinalaman sa isa’t isa—married man (Buencamino) stuck selling “life plans,” at commitment-phobic single man (Lorenzo) delivering deadly contraband, both madiskarte grifter types—pero the trail is neatly laid out so their paths crisscross and they arrive at their “incidental but pre-ordained (life-changing) meeting.” Ang intensiyon ng film ay itanong kung gaano ka-kontrolado ng mga tao ang buhay nila, as “the film seeks to explore circumstance versus choice, breaking points, and second chances.” The film knows exactly what it’s doing: explosive start, sophisticated treatment, steadily spinning out the metaphor even as the characters maneuver, and then an abrupt turnabout at the end. After watching this film, you’ll wonder if you’re the ball that hits the car and distracts the driver, or the reverse. Should you feel manipulated or impressed? ♦