Cinemalaya 13 in review, Part 2: “Sa Gabing Nanahimik ang mga Kuliglig” and “Ang Guro Kong Di Marunong Magbasa”

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This year’s roster of Cinemalaya independent films is again impressive, featuring a diverse set of directors, actors and narratives. With a larger number of “millennials” this year, the biggest independent film festival centers on the development of new norms for the “indie” scene. More mainstream actors took the helm, developing audience appreciation in the process.

Headlined by sought-after directors and rookies, this year’s theme of “seeing the bigger picture” was represented in an array of contrasting films. The Varsitarian rounds up the eight films in a three-part review.

“Sa Gabing Nanahimik ang mga Kuliglig”

Jake Macapagal stars in Iar Lionel Arondaing’s “Sa Gabing Nananahimik ang mga Kuliglig” as Fr. Romy, a priest who gets involved in a criminal investigation following a parishioner’s confession. Screengrab from YouTube.

RELIGION and politics come together in Iar Lionel Arondaing’s “Sa Gabing Nanahimik ang Mga Kuliglig,” a film about a priest’s life under the mandate of the Church and the law of the people.

Fr. Romy (Jake Macapagal), a local priest, gets embroiled in a criminal investigation following a parishioner’s confession.

Knowing every detail of the crime, Fr. Romy finds himself torn between fulfilling his priestly mandate and his obligation as a citizen.

In his bid to preserve the seal of confession, Fr. Romy assumes the role of a middleman. The film then narrates how the crime unfolded.

“Sa Gabing Nanahimik Ang Mga Kuliglig” disappoints as the plot focuses on the commission and resolution of the offense, not on the central character’s internal struggle. What gives the film power, though, is its strong pool of new and veteran actors.

Jake Macapagal pulls the necessary vigor and talent, allowing the character of the righteous and respectable priest to flourish.

“Ang Guro Kong Di Marunong Magbasa”

Actor Alfred Vargas plays the role of an illiterate farmer who taught the children of their conflict-striken barrio in Perry Escaño’s “Ang Guro Kong Di Marunong Magbasa.” Screengrab from YouTube.

After doing one comedy and one documentary film, director Perry Escaño returns to the big screen with “Ang Guro Kong Di Marunong Magbasa.”

Alfred Vargas takes on the lead role as Aaquil, an illiterate farmer handpicked by his colleagues to teach the children of their conflict-stricken barrio.

Uneducated, Aaquil seeks help from two of his lettered students. He then learns to read and write while fulfilling his schoolteacher duties.

Aaquil’s class grows and even children from rebel groups come. The pattern, however, reverses once Aaquil is tortured and killed for allegedly being a rebel himself.

The erstwhile naive children learn to handle weapons and mercilessly kill people. They abandon education on the belief that it would do them no good, and that fighting in the battlefield would serve them better.

“Ang Guro Kong Di Marunong Magbasa” explores the dark side of politics and adds in a bit of comedy with Vargas’s character.

The film is an eye-opener, compelling the audience to think and take action against societal and political evils.

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Cinemalaya 13 in review, Part 1: ‘Baconaua,’ ‘Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha,’ and ‘Kiko Boksingero’

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