Nov 29, 2017

One step forward, two steps back. The line-up for Metro Manila Film Fest was announced a couple of weeks ago, and it looks like it’s back to watching hour-long commercials for the Filipino people.

Some were happy with the results, some were indifferent. Mostly, though, people welcomed the line-up with resigned disappointment, at least according to my Facebook feed. Now, because the Nolisoli editorial team has a penchant for unhealthy coping mechanisms, we are dealing with this frustrating reality through denial and fancy. Since we can’t have nice things in real life because of politics, a capitalistic showbiz industry, and temperamental directors, we’ve decided to live in the ‘what if.’ What if we were the ones to choose the line-up for this year’s MMFF? Well, if it was up to us, here’s what the cinemas would look like come Christmastime.

Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral

 Synopsis: A historical epic film about the youngest Filipino general Gregorio Del Pilar and his role during the Philippine-American War in 1899.
What we love about it: Other than Paulo Avelino, all eyes are on this film because of its potential as the sequel to the 2015 blockbuster, Heneral Luna. With filmmaker Jerrold Tarog once again taking the lead, this film promises to be another exemplary action movie that executes the perfect balance of comedy, romance, gratuitous explosion scenes, and tasteful storytelling. Hopefully, it’s also going to be another way to bring history back into peoples consciousness, because Filipinos can be very forgetful.


Synopsis: This movie follows the story of a young rapper named Hendrix (Abra) as he tries to make his name known in the underground world of Filipino rap battles, all while navigating the current the war on drugs exercised amongst the poor.
What we love about it: Three things to love about this political film masquerading as a fun hip-hop movie: biting hip-hop battles, a lyrical dialogue, and political commentary that’s sure to leave an impression.


Patay na si Hesus

Synopsis: A single mother named Iyay brings her family on a road trip from Cebu to Dumaguete to attend the funeral of her estranged husband.
What we love about it: It’s comedy without the cheap barbs and family drama without the melancholy. It’s a jovial depiction of dealing with loss and abandonment while remaining anchored to the reality of human emotion.


Si Chedeng at si Apple

Synopsis: Chedeng (Gloria Diaz), 66, decides to come out of the closet during her husband’s wake. Her best friend Apple (Elizabeth Oropesa), 63, beheads her abusive live-in partner in a fit of rage. The two elderly women then get together with the severed head of Apple’s deceased lover lugged inside a Louis Vuitton bag, set off on an adventure to find Chedeng’s ex-girlfriend.
What we love about it: With two elderly women at the forefront, this film filled with morbid humor and a brow-raising premise debunks the misconception that life stops at forty.


Bar Boys

Synopsis: A comedy-drama film about a group of friends, Christian (Enzo Pineda), Erik (Carlo Aquino), Joshua (Kean Cipriano) and Toran (Rocco Nacino), as they go through life in and out of law school.
What we love about it: It’s thoughtful and real. It shows the audience all the different ways all kinds of people could fail and succeed. It also shows what it takes to be a good friend and to have a lasting friendship.


Ang Babaeng Allergic sa Wi-Fi

Synopsis: Teenager and social media-dependent Norma (Sue Ramirez) has to find a way to readjust her life without technology after finding out she has EHS or electromagnetic hypersensitivity.
What we love about it: The MMFF always has to have that one light-hearted rom-com and this is our pick. With an interesting premise, courtesy of a fictional disease, this passion project from Jun Robles Lana is looking to be a heart-thumping blast.


Smaller and Smaller Circles 

Synopsis: Two Jesuit priests with a background in forensics, Gus Saenz and Jerome Lucero, try to solve the murder of a boy from Payatas. 
What we love about it:
Based on the first Filipino crime novel by F.H. Batacan, this movie adaptation is the mystery thriller that we’ve been waiting for for over ten years.



Synopsis: Successful actress Jane Ciego gets into an accident during the taping of a film she’s producing. After the accident leaves her disabled, her husband Carlo decides to keep her in a secluded house to spare her from the attention of the press. Trapped in her own home with only her husband and a cruel nurse named Lilibeth for company, Jane experiences horrific visions/hallucinations and a slow decline into madness. 
What we love about it:
This psychological thriller gives us that weird horror movie-fix we all yearn for during the holidays. With Iza Calzado’s notable performance and the Jerrold Tarog’s play on the washed-up actress stereotype, it’s something new to see.

Bonus: Ang Larawan

Synopsis: Candida and Paula Marasigan, daughters of high-profile painter Don Lorenzo Marasigan, are facing financial trouble after relying on their more successful siblings Manolo and Pepang for the longest time. As a solution, Manolo and Pepang pressure the sisters to sell the house and the self-portrait of Don Lorenzo, which attracts the attention of art critics, journalists, and a senator. The sisters remain steadfast in their decision not to sell, and instead gets a boarder named Tony Javier.
What we love about it: This movie is already part of the current MMFF line-up, but we felt like we have to emphasize just how excited we are for it. What do we love about it? It’s star-studded cast and original songs. As the movie adaptation of a Nick Joaquin’s three-act English play A Portrait of the Artis as Filipino, it has a bit of everything from comedy, drama, romance, and mystery.

Header photo courtesy of

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TAGS: Abra Ang babaeng allergic sa Wi-fi Ang Larawan Barboys bliss christmas cinema Goyo: Ang batang heneral Iza Clazado Metro Manila Metro Manila FIlm Fetsival movies Paul Avelino Respeto Si Chedeng at si Apple