Indi Nation Set A of Cinemalaya 2020 continues the trend of great cinematography — whether it be color grading, framing, camera work, or storytelling. This diverse set of films include a beautiful documentary, a smart and hard-hitting documentary short, a strong realist commentary, and two films that don’t quite reach its full potential. The three films carry the full weight of this set, as they are remarkable works that truly deserve to be seen.
Indi Nation Shorts: Set A
Cinemalaya 2020 is streaming online via Vimeo until August 16, 2020. Access on up to five films are priced P75 while full access to the Cinemalaya festival, including all films and other features, is priced P350. Get your tickets here. Visit www.cinemalaya.org for more information.
Directed and written by Joey Paras
‘Igib’ is an unforgiving look into the confined and cramped lives of a slum area in Quezon City. The emotions that erupt after one bathroom incident in a house with no running water sets this drama running through the tight alleyways of this community, and all the ugliness of poverty is revealed in the backdrop of the Taal volcano eruption.
At the center of this realist drama is Carmen del Rosario, who plays Josa, and Joey Paras, who plays Dagul. Josa lives in Dagul’s home with other tenants and she makes a living fetching water for other homes in the community from the one faucet where there is running water. Her relationship with Dagul is further explored halfway through the film as we see her trying to borrow 500 Pesos from anybody to help get her husband and son to Manila from Batangas to escape the volcano’s eruption.
There is almost a documentary style in the closeness of the camera to the action. In the tight spaces of these people’s homes, the camera has no choice but to take very powerful close-ups and nothing is hidden — from del Rosario’s nude scene to an autistic teen’s nudity as he is forced to bathe by his screaming mother — and this in-your-face treatment really sends the message home; that these people’s lives are colliding with each other in such small spaces and that their struggles are informing in their language and treatment of one another. Even the out of focus shots are deliberate and amplifies the character’s internal world.
It is a powerful movie with incredible pacing and while it is filled with such vulgarity of language and character, the movie manages to manoeuvre itself into one transformative act of kindness that elevates the material into a powerful film about humanity’s struggle to remain human in such conditions.
This is a very well-thought out and executed film.