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Cinemalaya Online 2020 Shorts B

Cinemalaya 2020: Main Competition Shorts – Set B Film Reviews

This year, Cinemalaya goes online! You can now stream the 10 short films in competition until August 16.

2. Living Things

Directed and written by Martika Ramirez Escobar

Living Things - Cinemalaya Online

The charming ‘Living Things’ by writer and director Martika Ramirez Escobar is a playful exploration of unconditional love. The two lovers, played perfectly by Kristine Kintana and Charles Aaron Salazar, engage in games and pillow fights and languid early morning conversations about nothing truly consequential, which establishes a believable relationship.

But things change when something happens to Charles and then the film really gets into the heat of things without losing its whimsy and charm. This is supported by Director of Photography Carlos Mauricio’s stunning camera work and visual treatment, but this is also largely in part by editor Lawrence Ang’s excellent rhythm and pacing of scenes.

At eleven minutes and thirty seconds, ‘Living Things’ never out stays its welcome and manages to provoke thought while remaining delightful and cheery all-throughout. It is this sort of whimsical tone that’s sorely lacking in our cinematic landscape and it’s a great calling card for Martika Ramirez Escobar.

3. Utwas

Directed by Richard Salvadico and Arlie Sweet Sumagaysay
Written by Arlie Sweet Sumagysay


Utwas - Cinemalaya Online

Sporting gorgeous cinematography by Richard Jeroui Salvadico, ‘Utwas’ is the story of a son who is learning to become a fisherman from his father.

While ‘Utwas’ successfully depicts the dangers of irresponsible practices (dynamite fishing) to the environment and the safety of other fishermen, what it lacks is complete narrative that will elevate the short film from what could be a mere public service announcement.

The music scoring is gorgeous and the cinematography — aerial, underwater, and night scenes — is stunning. However, the film never really explores these characters fully, which makes ‘Utwas’ lacking in emotional weight or depth. Lead actors Joemel Bacayan and Rene Requiron do not seem to be experienced or trained actors and so there is a rawness to their performances that does not sync in with the beautiful and striking cinematography and elegance of its mise-en-shot.

Without a character arc and no real story, ‘Utwas’ doesn’t quite provoke thought or questions. It requires no emotional investment and so while it is lovely to look at, it can leave you quite cold.

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