Cinemalaya 2020 goes virtual this year because of Covid-19, and the focus is “removed” from full length feature films to give “chance” to short films (which are in the main competition).
For those wanting to see these short films in competition, sign up for a Vimeo account at https://vimeo.com/ondemand. You may JOIN VIMEO with your email address, Google, or by using the ‘LOGIN WITH FACEBOOK’ option.
If you already have an account, log in to Vimeo and search for Cinemalaya ’16 or go directly via this link https://vimeo.com/ondemand/cinemalaya2020standard.
“Pabasa Kan Pasyon” is a 14-minute, 36-second flick from Hubert Tibi, who – basically – oversaw everything to make this film (he produced, edited, wrote, directed and did the cinematography).
That he did most of the work alone is daunting as it is; but that he produced this kind of film is… good indeed.
ISSUES WORTH HIGHLIGHTING
To start, this isn’t a “perfect” film – that’s even if we acknowledge that there’s no such thing as “perfect film” anyway.
But there are… mini-flaws, if they can be called that.
- Contrived acting – e.g. the son’s delivery is typical reading-off-the-script… or at least that’s the sense I got.
- The extras are too conscious when they are in the scenes – e.g. look at the people walking beside the main characters (after the first “padasal”), always taking at look at the main performers, aware they were being shot.
- There were too-long shots – e.g. counting of money.
- You never really end up empathizing with the characters. At least i didn’t.
But this is – by and large – a beautifully shot film with lots of pluses.
- The B&W treatment is a big, big plus, giving the flick this dated/sentimental feel, which is important in the telling of this practice that’s fast disappearing.
- There’s the glimpse it gives us of what may be a disappearing practice – i.e. “padasal”.
- There’s the glimpse at rural life – i.e. finally, we’re outside the so-called “imperial Manila”.
- There’s the glimpse at the “old” versus “new” – e.g. “padasal” versus tech, and how the former is swallowed by the latter.
- There’s the glimpse at religiosity in rural Philippines – e.g. we still “crucify” actors playing Jesus during Holy Week.
- There’s the tackling of related issues – e.g. poverty, unemployment, etc.
- And last, though not the least, the technical handling needs to be highlighted:
A) the sound editing – e.g. that photoshoot at the church, and mother’s demise – that should be mentioned at least.
IN THE END…
Again, this isn’t “perfect”.
It’s almost as unfeeling as the statues in the flick – e.g. based on the film alone, I seriously couldn’t “feel” good or bad that the “padasal” is disappearing, or that tech is taking over people’s employments, and so on.
But this is a flick that’s… beautiful to watch. And I suppose if you can waste time by putting up with the likes of “Mano Po”, Vice Ganda films, Vic Sotto flicks, “BuyBust” or F#*@BOIS, then surely, spending not even 15 minutes of your time for this is a worthy endeavor…