A short film should be able to engage its audience and relay its story and/or message within a limited time span. With that said, CineFilipino’s Shorts B was a bit of a disappointment.
Milo Tolentino’s AKI was over before it even started. It was so short (probably a good thirty seconds) that I actually thought I was still watching the omnibus festival trailer. The opening shot was gorgeous, but it didn’t really amount to anything. Please tell me that was just a system glitch.
Kenneth Mandrilla’s PUNLA had hints of The Returned, but it actually turned into a typical ghost/soul story. The chirping of the birds was louder than the actual dialogue that I had to rely on the subtitles to understand what the characters were saying. It tried to be sentimental in the end, but I didn’t really cared much about the kids (played by newbies, so the acting wasn’t that good).
Carl Chavez’s NOT APPLICABLE was a clear warning for call center agents to get enough sleep and take a much-needed vacation after an endless night of phone calls. Its attempt to be silly was fine, if only it was at least funny. The actress with the heavy make-up, 6 chunky bangles on one arm, and a frilly pink belt was no match for the ferocious turn of chubby Ate who finished two cake slices in one sitting. One scene had this really corny dialogue:
Muk-up Girl: “May iniwan si tatay?” (referring to recently deceased father)
Chubby Ate: “Yan!” (pointing at table)
MUG: “Yung cake?”
Let’s not even discuss that faux chainsaw with the unfinished silver paint.
You could smell the twist(s) in Jasper Ramon Tulabot’s CHICBOY after the first minute, but it still didn’t take away the fact that it was incredibly funny. I would have wanted a toned-down performance from its lead actor to match the perfectly natural acting of Rona Mae Lallana (so good as the one-night stand partner). Still, the film was a hoot and achieved its goal of shocking its audience while making them laugh out really loud.
Allison Barretto’s XXX was the most polished one in the group, effectively creeping out its viewers through jump cuts and relentless voiceovers. It was about a disgraced seamstress turned beauty queen whose entire life story unfolded through radio announcements. The final shot will haunt people and make them think long after they have trooped out of the theater.
AKI (Milo Tolentino) – ★☆☆☆☆
PUNLA (Kenneth Mandrilla) – ★★☆☆☆
NOT APPLICABLE (Carl Chavez) – ★★☆☆☆
CHICBOY (Jasper Ramon Tulabot) – ★★★★☆
XXX (Allison Barretto) – ★★★★★