With the Philippine film industry slowly reaching its silver age, many more films with better production and great storytelling emerge each day, and besides the MMFF, tons of small indie film productions here in the country are gaining traction and are something to watch. If you are planning to have a movie marathon with friends or yourself, we listed some of the best and underrated Pinoy independent films to watch right now in your condo. So sit back, relax and indulge yourself in some Pinoy arthouse feature films and shorts gems right now.
Kun Maupay Man it Panahon
Carlo Francisco Manatad’s theatrical feature depicts a realistic look at the aftermath of the 2013 Yolanda typhoon through the lens of three different characters consisting of the young Rans Rifol, the adult Daniel Padilla and an elderly Charo Santos as we learn about their hardships and their undying hope for a better day ahead, as it won the 2nd Best Picture Award from MMFF 2021. A great film to start if you want to work on your empathy and see the world outside the comforts of your living, it is still playing in theaters so now is the chance to see it on the big screen before it lands on your favorite streaming service.
Sad Catto Nights
The Sphinx’s 2020’s effort sees the chronicles of the effect of lockdown on animals, as he weaves a story about his cats and how they handle their stress. One cat, in particular, is Kibsic, a full-grown cat that suddenly got bald for no reason, this short film also features kittens begging for peace and solemn time, and they are clearly distressed by the constant barrage of vehicles passing through, shouting quarantine personnel, and the overall stress it gives. If you are an animal lover, now is the chance to see the side of your pets that you don’t normally see often. It is available on YouTube to watch.
Now, onto the classic. Another pet-themed film but it is so much more than that. This 2012 drama film directed by the magnificent Jun Lana is about an elderly Rene (played by the late Eddie Garcia) who is a recluse for most of his life, but after getting in touch with his inner homosexuality, begins to soften and brighten up towards the people around it. Bwakaw has a simple story, but don’t let that fool you because Garcia and Company really bring the a-grade acting chops here that really sold the idea of “it’s never too late to show your true colors.” It’s available on Netflix to stream.
Smaller and Smaller Circles
If you are craving for some noirish seedy underworld vibes if that’s your thing, then why don’t you watch Raya Martin’s effort, “Smaller and Smaller Circles”? It is dubbed as the first Pinoy neo-noir film, Smaller and Smaller Circles stars acting heavyweights Nonie Buencamino and Sid Lucero as two Jesuit priests getting involved to solve a series of child murders in the slums of Manila and find the serial killer himself that preys on small children. This film, while the plot summary might be disturbing for some, pose some hard-hitting questions about how we handle things like this from the authorities, media, and the character’s own moral compass which is shaky at best, and that what makes this film is so great because the characters are real human beings and are flawed. It is available to watch right now on Netflix.
That Thing Called Tadhana
“Where do broken hearts go talaga, Tita Whitney?” asked Angelica Panganiban’s character. That Thing Called Tadhana is a classic and one of Antoinette Jadaone’s finest films about this age-old subject about love. It is about a woman (Panganiban) struggling to meet her airline baggage requirements meets a man (JM de Guzman) who comes to her help. They formed a friendship and through the course of it, they cluelessly heal each other’s wounds. Jadaone injected fresh approaches into this romance-comedy movie, and if you aren’t a fan of such films, this flick will change your outlook on Pinoy romcoms. Watch now on Netflix right now and get blown away, pronto!
If this film’s hilarious story can’t get you, the seamless blend of live-action and animation should convince you otherwise. An aspiring comic book artist has a hopeless crush on his spunky inventor best friend and fantasizes about saving her from the big bad world. The plot matches the story, Rhian Ramos is a blast to watch, so is Enzo Marcos, it took almost 10 years to complete this marvel, and Avid Liongoren’s film is the perfect movie to watch with your friends and family. It’s now available to watch on Netflix.
Sa Bawat Nating Pag-Abang
Now we end this list with a sober reminder of our own mortality, meticulously reflected in “Sa Bawat Nating Pag-Abang” or “As We Wait,” directed by Aiah Gertos, Rona May Bawa, and Ivan Gentolizo – this poignant exploration to the unknown and the ultimate question of when the pandemic will end is a timely, touchy subject we can all relate to. This melancholic short film will touch your heart and feed your mind with the necessary answers to get by with our losses, gains, and hope for the future. It is available to watch right now on YouTube.
So there you have it, some of our picks for the most watchable Pinoy Indie films to view while in the comforts of your own condo, remember to keep safe always, have an open mind when it comes to arthouse features we mentioned above as films like this are often used to challenge the human psyche and broaden our tastes in movies. We hope you will watch them!
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