Movies for Valentine’s Day
There are telling signs that Feb. 14 is fast approaching: commercial establishments dressed up in all sorts of heart-shaped decor; large influx of guests at the so-called “love motels”; and, of course, the cheesy Pinoy romance flicks that never fail to give our countrymen those warm fuzzies.
But if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, here are some alternative Filipino movies that offer a corrective tonic to the wishy-washy love stories that Valentine’s Day traditionally sells us.
“Donsol,” Adolfo Alix’s directorial debut, is a jewel of the independent film industry. Beautifully shot in Donsol, Sorsogon, it follows a summer love between a butanding (whaleshark) interaction officer and a cancer patient. Joey Ayala’s “Walang Hanggang Paalam” was featured in this tearjerker.
“Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising,” a coming-of-age film by acclaimed director Mike de Leon, revolves around a music-loving, carefree college student who falls in love with an unhappily married woman. Released in 1977, this romantic drama is now a certified classic.
“Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros,” is about a young gay boy who falls in love with a handsome and idealistic police officer. Set in the slums of Metro Manila, this witty and heartwarming indie film by Auraeus Solito is the country’s official entry to the 79th Academy Awards in 2007.
“Bona” proposes that love is one thing, obsession is another. This award-winning film by Lino Brocka tells the story of a middle-class student Bona
(Nora Aunor) who chooses to leave her family and become a housemaid to an aging movie bit player Gardo (Phillip Salvador) whom she idolizes. Written by Cenen Ramones.
“Sa North Diversion Road,” Dennis Marasigan’s wonderful adaptation of Tony Perez’s stage play, is about the lives of 10 different couples with 10 different stories, brilliantly portrayed by John Arcilla and Irma Adlawan (yes, just by the two of them). It delves into the subjects of infidelity and humanity.
“Relasyon” may seem a bit odd, but this “feminist film,” by National Artist Ishmael Bernal, actually provided the template for the resurgence of mistress movies in Philippine cinemas. Sterling performances by Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon.
“The Guerrilla is a Poet” is an inspiring story about the life and struggle of Filipino revolutionary and poet Jose Maria Sison and his undying love for his wife Julie de Lima—and the country. Played throughout the film are verses from Sison’s world-renowned poem “The Guerrilla is Like a Poet.” Directed by Sari and Kiri Dalena.
“’Merika.” America is not in the heart of Mila, an overseas Filipino worker struggling to fight loneliness in a foreign land. Gil Portes (direction) and Clodualdo del Mundo Jr. (story and screenplay) collaborated for this landmark film, which is both a love story and a social commentary on the situation of OFWs in the United States.
Despite trying times, Filipinos remain hopeless romantics. I’m just glad that we have romantic (or not-so-romantic) movies that are honest enough to examine the realities of life.
DANIEL ALOC, firstname.lastname@example.org
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