Here are all the entries for the first Summer Edition of the Metro Manila Film Festival that will run from April 11 to 21. Foreign films are prohibited from being shown in PH cinemas during this time.
Update: 03/15/2020 The Summer 2020 MMFF has been postponed until further notice due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
From the get-go, it would seem like TBA Studios’ Write About Love has everything going for it: a fresh take on the rom-com genre, a winning soundtrack, and a multi-talented cast.
But despite some early favorable feedback from its premiere screening, the film struggled in the first few days of the 45th Metro Manila Film Festival as many moviegoers instead trooped to see the usual family comedies headlined by stars that have been dominating the annual Christmas season festival for years.
Write About Love, which opened on Christmas Day was even pulled out from cinemas where it did not perform as well as the expected top grossers.
Let’s get this out of the way first. Yes, I know Aga Muhlach issued statements that echoed DDS sentiments and he is on our boycott list. And yes, it is hypocritical that I watched his movie given the boycott. In my defense, there are decent people in the cast and the director is also a good guy so it kinda balances things out… or so I tell myself. I am leaving it at that before I trip over myself trying to justify this.
There is so much buzz in social media about the Filipino remake and it was hard not to get curious. After all, it is not every year that a film can go head-to-head with a Vice Ganda movie in the box office. I have not seen the Korean original but I am aware of its immense popularity. Watching the remake, it is easy to see why. Miracle in Cell No. 7 is a heart-tugging tale of family, friendship, love, and the kind of injustice that is all too familiar wherever you are in the world (we will get back to this in a bit and warning – it gets political).
Write About Love, for better or worse, is a story about the creative process. It is also a will-they/won’t-they romantic comedy about a veteran and a newbie film writer who are assigned to collaborate to complete an unfinished relationship story.
It all seems pretty mundane but the film starts to take off as soon as the writers begin to reveal bits and pieces of themselves that are reflected in their characters’ lives and the decisions that they make. While the writing isn’t necessarily Shakespearean, the connections we make between the writers and their writing become quite immersive. It is like being given an inside scoop into somebody’s life, a CliffsNotes interpretation as to why the characters in a story do the things that they do and so we become invested, eagerly waiting for the next chapter.
Write About Love shows us that writing isn’t just relaying what you already know. Good writing can take a life of its own – free from the writer’s judgments and justifications. Just like in real life, we relinquish control and let the story go to places that we are not prepared to face. If we are lucky, it can lead us to grow and to looking deeper within ourselves until we realize that pain is a necessary part of life and love. And emerging from that pain can hopefully take us to where we want to go.
We live at a time when political differences go beyond supporting leaders with different policies and styles in running things. It has become a choice between supporting ‘leaders’ who promote abuse, misogyny, impunity, and even murder and those who have the courage to stand up and say no even if that means that they will be persecuted by those in power. I always choose the latter.
But this is a democracy. Celebrities, just like anyone else, are free to choose who they want to support. As we, the public who follow them, are free to boycott their careers and everything that they represent should we think that they are not the role models that we want for us and for the next generation. You would have no qualms boycotting a celebrity should he/she support rape and pedophilia, right? How are impunity and murder any different?
Citizen Jake is an important film in today’s Pilipinas.
It is a bleak but necessary look at the cycle of abuse and power in the country. It confronts the audience with blatant truths disguised as fiction and offers no way out nor redemption for the characters.
There are no good guys in Citizen Jake. Not even Jake. The film shows us that the people we may regard as evil may be motivated by some sick sense of love for country and are doing what they think is necessary. It shows us that we are all haunted by the ghost of a political past. We are abandoned by our heroes. We are bred from a system that tells us that there is an inescapable divide between a master and a slave; where justice is unattainable. We watch helplessly as life is drained out of our country because we are held down by our own sins. And in the end, just like in real life, it is the little people that always end up dead and fucked.