The 10-day vibrant smorgasboard of diverse films from a total of 40 film entries coming from other parts of the globe concluded with high spirits.
The closing film of the 6th QCinema Int’l. Film Festival billed Piercing segued right off to the weeklong and feverish observation of All Soul’s Day. Locally known as “Undas.”
“Like last year, we also fielded a film of the horror-thriller genre in time for the country’s observation of “Undas” to conclude this year’s festival. And yes, this year we intended to give our closing film that same kind of eerie and spooky kind of feeling after you watch Piercing, a 2018 film entry from New York by Director Nicolas Pesce, a film graduate from Tisch School of the Arts,” said Festival Director Ed Lejano.
To this writer’s assessment, the said horror thriller was beyond your usual dose of blood and gore; it crossed the line of how much your system can take violence for its own sake, albeit it hinted at some postmodern take on the displacement of everyman’s soul.
The story goes this way: A new dad goes on a business trip. Instead of packing his clothes, he packs a murder kit along with a plan for the perfect murder . He rents out a hotel room where he intends to execute the plan of murdering an unsuspecting victim.Only then will he be able to satisfy his impulses and return to his family as a cleansed man.
However, an orderly and well-planned murder took a twist in the hands of the murderer because the lady victim turned out to be possessed of almost the same agenda which was to execute a plan to kill a much heinous crime than that in the mind of the male murderer. So, they ended up mutually murdering and “piercing” all sorts of destructive weapons into each other’s body, a slow kind of death-enducing acts through the end of the film.
The film does not give a conclusive ending as to who died of murder from each other’s act. Enough that it more than measured up to each genre as a horror-thriller.
On the other hand, the opening film Shoplifters from Japan by previous Cannes Jury Prize Director Kore-eda Hirokazu, looked a bit dark, albeit breezy sort of comedy of manners than its touted crime-drama genre. A Palme d’Or Cannes Film Festival 2018 winner, said edifying film exposed people at the margins given to shoplifting and sex on glory holes in a rich country like Japan.
It is a story of family of criminals forced to scrape a living in downtown Tokyo. Their story took an interesting turn when they adopted a little girl despite their impoverished livelihood. The little girl turned out to be an instrument to correct the misdeeds of the family who adopted her. “The brilliant director of this magnum opus is Kore-eda Hirokazu. It was a good choice to program this film in the opening because it was highly relatable to the temperament and social condition of the Filipino people,” added Lejano.
This writer fortunately was able watch only a couple of films from the Circle Competition category which received 1.5 million pesos grant each from QCinema, namely Oda Sa Wala (a gothic horror by Director Dwein Baltazar with Pokwang who used her real name Marietta Subong in this film and Joonee Gamboa in the lead), and Hintayan Sa Langit (a dramedy by Director Dan Villegas with Eddie Garcia and Gina Pareno in the lead).
Serendipituosly, these two films bagged most of the awards, including Best Actor for Eddie Garcia, and Best Actress for Pokwang. Gina Pareno to me was just as deserving if not more than Pokwang, but you see the notion of distributing awards in this country to make “everybody happy” has become a bad habit amongst some award-giving bodies hereabouts.
We predict Gina Pareno will be vendicated come awards time in other bodies because her performance with Eddie Garcia was a whole gamut of nuances and defined range of emotions while that of Pokwang was wanting much in the realm of emotional layerings.
The “piece de resistance” of the festival which were sucked out mostly by adult audiences were the digitally-remastered classics retros like the Palme d’ Or Cannes winner of Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz and the French classics of Henri-Georges Clauzot’s suspense thriller Diabolique, and And God Created Woman which starred then ingenue Brigitte Bardot who became the first of Director Roger Vadim’s five wives.
It pays to commend the organizers’efforts to show children’s films for free courtesy of Denmark, but additional titles to include stories of children with disabilities could have made the festival more child-friendly and really festive.
Most of the film entries were truly remarkable and indeed were festival materials to reckon with.
This writer had a helluva time watching films coming from emerging cult directors with their respective entries some of which included, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, A Land Imagined, Burning by a cult director Lee Chang-dong from the Republic of Korea, Climax from France, Tomcat (a story about genuine love for pets from Austria), The Seen and Unseen (from Indonesia by a lady Director Kamila Andini who bagged international awards for her films that negotiated for and on behalf of her social culture, gender equity and environmental issues, etc.).
The LGBT community was also represented in such notable films like The Wound by Director John Trengrove from Africa, Hard Paint from Brazil by co- Directors Marcio Reolon and Filipe Matzembacher. These two films topped the rest of the LGBT entries from a total of six “piece de resistance” so to speak entries for its erotic and graphic rendering of gay-to-gay sex.
Equally worthy of their entries were the films coming from the regional sectors of the country represented by such short films like Bahakhak, Dumaguete, Ang Paglimbasog Sa Managhigalaay Aron Makalingkawas, etc.
In her closing speech, the co-chairperson of the QC Film Dev’t. Council and prime mover of said festival pointed out: “We may not realize it but for the past ten decades, movies have been making an impact on our culture, in the way we talk, behave, dress, view and deal with life, and we are what we are today because of the movies. The distinctive power of the cinema has indeed united us in making it through this century-long journey of success and challenges in its glorious decades and dreary moments.”
In all, we salute the 6th QCinema Int’l. Film Festival in its tireless, continuing impact to help advance the local film industry in time with this year’s centennial celebration of the birth of Philippine cinema.