The Metro Manila Film Festival is heading back to the cinemas this year as restrictions due to the pandemic have been relaxed. This follows the recent re-opening of theaters that have so far gotten trickles in audiences despite the roster of the usual blockbuster drawers shown.
To date, no information has been released if the MMFF movies will be available online for streaming. For those who would brave the malls to watch a movie, the following safety protocols are being observed by cinemas:
Moviegoers must take a body temperature check before entering the cinema Moviegoers must present an authentic vaccination card that shows the completion of two vaccine doses Moviegoers and staff must adhere to the IATF’s current ruling on face shields, face masks No eating inside the cinema Theaters will implement “socially-distanced seating,” even for moviegoers who are entering together (two seats apart) Contactless and cashless transactions to be encouraged during ticket-purchasing Improved air ventilation Availability of hand sanitizers at every cinema entrance Mandatory hand-washing every 30 minutes for cinema employees Deep cleaning of surfaces, chairs between screenings
Here are the entries for the 2021 Metro Manila Film Festival:
“Big Night” (Cignal Entertainment, Ideafirst Company, Octobertrain Films, and Quantum Films) Starring: Christian Bables, Eugene Domingo Directed by: Jun Robles Lana
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 is a story about the creative process. It is also a will-they/won’t-they romantic comedy about an industry veteran and a newbie film writer who are assigned to collaborate to complete an unfinished relationship story.
It all starts pretty mundane but the film takes 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 great, 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.