Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Children's Show - Cinemalaya New Breed

Director: Roderick Cabrido
With: Buboy Villar, Miggs Cuaderno, Allen Dizon, Gloria Sevilla, Divine Grace Aucina, Suzette Ranillo, Nathan Lopez, Jacob Clayton

Synopsis from Cinemalaya: Children’s Show is a full-length film based on a real life story of children ages 10-15 years old being used by a syndicate for an underground wrestling match.

Not gonna lie, poverty in Filipino films is starting to get tiresome and repetitive. In this year's Cinemalaya alone, there's already a couple that tackled it. Poverty porn. Although I can't complain too much because there are lots of stories to tell about poverty in the Philippines. Children's Show for one covered something we haven't seen before. Underground wrestling. Sounds intriguing? (Hi Fight Club!) but when it involves children, at first I thought it's going to be just plain interesting but it's rather disquieting to see them fight for money without realizing that they're doing something wrong and illegal. It's one of their ways to survive life. An eye-opener. But what transcends the subject of poverty is the heartwarming true story of brotherhood.

Children's Show successfully incorporated a compelling drama about family while conveying the sad truth of poverty. The two main characters Al and Jun's tough love for each other is fun to watch and it made for a sadder story when they had to face their biggest obstacle in life as brothers - it's not the underground wrestling or poverty, it's their father (Allen Dizon) who likes to steal their money. It's a sad life for them.

Buboy Villar as Al
via www.mymovieworld-coolman0304.blogspot.com/
Miggs Cuaderno (Purok 7) and a mature Buboy Villar (Little Big Star) are brilliant in this and proved to be serious actors. They have undeniable chemistry as two brothers living in Metro Manila slums. Comedy or drama, they have the acting chops to pull them off. Even in the fight scenes they're brave and ready. Gloria Sevilla as usual is good. I liked her in Boy Golden, I liked her here too. Allen Dizon as the violent father is intense. The two standouts for me though are Divine Grace Aucina and Suzette Ranillo. Divine Grace Aucina is such a brave girl for accepting the role of Al's girlfriend who's also a fellow young fighter in underground matches. She steals every scene she's in when I thought she's just going to be on the sidelines. She's what I refer as the Lupita Nyong'o of the Philippines and I wish I'm not the only one who noticed her. I hope she gets recognition for her work in this even though her scenes are not that flashy. Suzette Ranillo on the other hand has only one scene but she managed to stand out because of her insane tearz. Her performance may be over-the-top but I love that she continued to act even when there's saliva and nasal fluids dripping all over her mouth. So Felicity Huffman of her.

Another thing I love about the movie is its style and it's not afraid of taking risks. Cabrido's take on Al's hallucinations are amazing especially that one outstanding scene where a giant chicken passed across a Metro Manila highway. It didn't look fake and it reminded me of Hushpuppy's encounter of the Beasts in Beasts of the Southern Wild. I love those kind of surprises.

My biggest flack about the film is how it ended. I got nothing to complain about the whole film but it ended so abruptly as in Bourne Legacy's ending level. I guess Cabrido left it as it is implicating that these kids got no future. There's no resolution, there's no hope and it's a sad (and again abrupt) ending. Still, it's nothing short of message, action, drama and even comedy that I think it's one of the better movies in this year's Cinemalaya.