Heiter bis Wolkig (2012)

This is part of my effort to watch all the films on Max Riemelt’s filmography.

Tim (Max Riemelt) and Can (Elyas M’Barek) are two aspiring chefs who have absolutely no luck in baiting women with their pathetic pick-up lines. To win the ladies over, they start pretending to be terminally ill cancer patients whose last wish is to get laid. Through this scheme, Tim meets Marie (Anna Fischer), whom he starts to think of as more than just a fling. As it turns out though, Marie lives with her actually terminally ill older sister Edda (Jessica Schwarz) who is bitter about the inevitability of her death. Believing that it would be good for Tim and Edda to spend time together, Marie asks him to befriend her sister. But Edda instantly sees through Tim’s lie.

Spoilers ahead.
Warning: I watched the movie without subtitles. I understand German, but barely.

Despite knowing about Tim’s lie, Edda makes him tag along on her exploits to live out her last days to the fullest. First, they break into Edda’s old workplace – a flower shop – to take revenge on Edda’s old boss by having a herd of goats munch through all the plants they have in stock. Then, they terrorize Edda’s ex at his office, scaring him so badly that he ends up wetting his pants. Over more adventures, Tim ends up being Edda’s friend. Edda feels happier than she’s been in a long while.

At the same time, Tim and Marie’s relationship progresses slowly. Marie doesn’t want to date a man who’s dying – considering her sister is dying as well – and Tim doesn’t know how to confess that the story about him having cancer is a lie. Tim and Can’s friendship suffers, too. Can refuses to play up to the lie that they started and also declines Tim’s offer to partner on their own restaurant. Eventually, Can slips up and reveals to Marie that Tim isn’t sick and that the whole cancer story is a lie. This causes a rift between Tim and Marie, and they remain unfriendly even after Edda dies.

Time passes and Tim fulfills his dream of starting his own restaurant with Can. Marie deals with her grief alone and badly, until her sister’s old doctor turns up at her house with a delivery from Edda. The package contains a letter telling Marie not to fear now that she’s passed on, as well as a photograph of Tim and Marie during their first dinner together with Edda. In her letter, Edda tells Marie that Tim is The One for her. This spurs Marie to go to Tim’s restaurant and reconcile with him. The last shot is that of the exterior of Tim and Can’s restaurant, which is revealed to be called Edda’s. The red neon sign flickers briefly, before it settles and remains lit in the quiet street.

Review

Narrative
Plot-wise, there is nothing new about this story. The elements one would expect from a romantic comedy about living in the midst of cancer are all present: jadedness, high-risk adventures, indirect empowerment caused by the realization that life is short, and tears. The most refreshing angle, to my mind, is that the story unravels from the point-of-view of the male protagonist, whose primary concern eventually shifts from getting into Marie’s pants to being there for Edda.

This transition, to me, is also the primary strength of the movie’s plot. Although essentially a romance, Heiter bis Wolkig also proves itself to be a strong testament to camaraderie. The friendship aspect is what appeals to me the most – probably because more screen time was devoted to building the relationship between Tim and Edda than the romance between Tim and Marie.

I can’t say anything about the dialogue, because I watched this without subtitles. I only understood enough of the German lines to piece the events together. It also doesn’t help that the transition between scenes is very choppy and disconnected. If one doesn’t pay attention, it may be difficult to thread the connection between two consecutive – yet unrelated – scenes.

Rating: 2.5/4

Characters
Initially, the characters give the impression that they could be caricatures instead of real people. Edda rises from this by proving that even though she naturally has a bitter and pessimistic personality, she also truly cares for her sister’s happiness. Marie, easy to think of as a gentle soul, also shows very human flaws as the story progresses. She resents how she’s cared for her sister for a long time, yet Edda still chooses to talk to Tim more. She also reveals a violent, unforgiving temper when she finds out that she’s been lied to. Tim’s claim to character development fame is that he’s driven to pursue his dreams after Edda’s struggle inspires him. Can, we never get to learn much about.

Acting-wise, the four main cast members have an acceptable dynamic going on between them. Riemelt plays the role of the gentle and easy-going Tim adorably, and M’Barak – despite not having much screen time – delightfully steals the show when the limelight is on him. Fischer is believable as the cute but occasionally temperamental Marie, and Schwarz just owns the role of Edda. The two male leads, however, couldn’t convince me that they were the best of friends, and there is sadly no chemistry between Riemelt and Fischer. But that’s okay, because Riemelt and Schwarz are just delicious together. The energy between them is fantastic.

Rating: 1.5/2

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Aesthetic
The cinematography hints at nothing. It doesn’t contribute much to the mood of the film. It isn’t uplifting, but it isn’t offensive either. It just is.

In terms of music, it was a disappointment that most of the background songs were in English. Moreover, aside from the excellent sequence after Edda’s death – which features the Goo Goo Dolls’ Iris – these English songs don’t do much for the film. The ending theme (Soehne Mannheim’s Gesucht und Gefunden) is fantastic though, and perfect for the movie.

Rating: 1/2

Personal Feels
As far as mainstream romantic comedies go, Heiter bis Wolkig may be considered original. It’s refreshing, too, despite the morbid theme of death that the story revolves around. It has a great balance of sentimentality and clear-headedness; the recognition that death is inevitable, but that life must go on still. The main drawback of the movie is that although its sobriety arguably differentiates it from most romcom movies, it remains predictable. So despite its life-affirming message, the takeaway of Heiter bis Wolkig just doesn’t stick.

Rating: 1/2

Total Rating: 6/10
Packed with compelling performances and laugh-out-loud situations, the failing of Heiter bis Wolkig is simply its formulaic plot.

On Max
For Riemelters out there, you better watch this one. He is absolutely adorable here, and because of his edgy project choices, he probably won’t get a character this cute in a long time or even ever again. He portrays Tim’s head-over-heels-in-love situation so well, and as a Riemelter – don’t you want to see him with hearts in his eyes?

International Title: Partly Sunny.
Language: German.
Produced by: Film1, Seven Pictures, Constantin Film Produktion.
Genre: Romance | Comedy | Tragedy.
Written by: Axel Staeck.
Directed by: Marco Petry.

Photo (c) Westfaelische Nachrichten.

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Max Riemelt

This is Max Riemelt. I don’t know much about him yet except that he always drinks something during interviews, that he likes wearing plain t-shirts, and that he has intense, arresting eyes. A lot of people say his jaw line is to die for, but I don’t have much of an opinion on jaws, so I can’t say much about that.

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I got addicted to him because of the Netflix show Sense8, where he plays Wolfgang Bogdanow – a dangerous, party-loving, talent-show-watching petty criminal who ‘never seems to have any clothes on’. I’ll admit the man was too beautiful to ignore. But as I read and watched more about him, I realized there’s so much more to him than physical beauty and an irresistible charisma.

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(c) Max Riemelt during an interview with Tagesspiel. Link here. Translation mine.

He has a fearless filmography. He’s done so much since he started his acting career at the age of 13. He’s been in action movies, arthouse movies, mainstream romcom movies, and even cutesy Christmas movies where his sidekick is a Labrador. I’m especially drooling at the work he’s done in recent years. There’s Lichtgestalten, which is a definite must-watch, if only for the beautiful visual aesthetic and intriguing premise. There’s Auf das Leben, which seems to be one of those feel-good, life-affirming movies that also happen to be technically excellent. Oh, and there’s Freier Fall, which everyone on YouTube is gushing about.

It’s as if he gets bored if the material isn’t challenging enough.

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Stumbling into Max Riemelt’s work has made me extremely thankful that I sort of understand the German language. I’ve been studying it for more than four years now, and aside from a vague internal interest in the language itself, as well as interest in German politics, I’ve never yet found a reason to celebrate the fact that I can tell apart der, die, and das. But now, I can use my German to understand bits of Max Riemelt’s interviews! These are two of my favorites so far:

  • In which Max admits he’s never watched Titanic properly, that John Malkovich and Klaus Kinski are two of his favorite actors, and that he thinks Spongebob the Movie is the funniest.

  • In which he’s asked if he has an undervalued talent, and he replies that he has none. Instead, he says he thinks he’s overestimated. / Maxi. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT.

Long story short, this is my version of a fangirl gush, and my announcement that Max Riemelt is getting his own tag in this blog because I’m planning to stan his career.

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(c) Max Riemelt during an interview with Stuttgarter Zeitung. Link here. Translation mine.

 

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (’14/08 – ’15/03)

Arima Kousei (Hanae Natsuki) is a piano prodigy who has been unable to play music in the two years following his mother’s death. This changes when the intrepid and hot-headed, but undeniably beautiful Miyazono Kaori (Taneda Risa) charges head first into his life and demands that he become her accompanist at an upcoming violin competition. Arima hesitates, but his childhood friends Sawabe Tsubaki (Sakura Ayane) and Watari Ryouta (Osaka Ryota) turn out to be extremely supportive. This pushes him onto the road back to music, which forces him to face his old demons and to shape his identity as a musician and an artist.

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Narrative
In terms of both plot and style, this anime is a cut above its peers in the romcom genre. Nauseating sentimentality is a common fault of Japanese shoujo anime (lit. girl anime) and Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso falls into its trappings, too, although it does so with so much sincerity that one can’t help giving in to the emotions that tug mercilessly at one’s heart. There is a relatable theme for everyone in this anime, whether it’s the struggles of a teenager to find a place in the world, the pain of losing a parent, or the bitterness of unrequited affection. Moreover, the story is technically satisfying. It comes full circle sweetly and satisfactorily, and if you’re wondering what the ‘lie’ referred to in the title is, the answer is in the final episode. Rest assured that the minor arcs embedded in each of the episodes will prove engaging as well, and beneficial in making the main arc richer and more piercing.

Characters
Although not all of the cast are given a deep character analysis, the ones who are given attention make the spotlight directed on them worth it. Arima’s motivations, for example, are explained so vividly that one bleeds for him, one cries for him, despite never having experienced anything similar to what he has gone through. It is also an excellent decision to delve into only a few characters, as this turns the anime into a classic case of quantity vs quality. At the very least, the relationship of each of the characters to Arima Kousei is well explored, which adds focus to the narrative and makes Arima’s musical journey even more personal by the last episode.

Arima Kousei is a piano prodigy who hasn't played music since his mother's death.
Arima Kousei is a piano prodigy who hasn’t played music since his mother’s death.

Perhaps my only beef with the characters in terms of either design or dialogue, is that the middle-school-age cast are collectively, unnaturally mature for their age. It’s hard to believe that fourteen year old students could be capable of spouting such deep and reverberating epiphanies. Arima could be qualified as an exception, given he had to grow up quickly after all the sorrow he had gone through, but I personally still find him too mature for a fourteen year old. To be fair, the kids’ lines aren’t unbelievably complicated – in fact, they revolve mainly around everyday things like popsicle sticks, sports teams, and cake. The extremely heavy aura surrounding its characters, however, makes Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso difficult to place in an ordinary middle school setting. Transplant the story to a high school setup or even to a college setup, and its gravity would still make sense.

Miyazono Kaori is a violinist who plays to the beat of her own heart.
Miyazono Kaori is a violinist who plays to the beat of her own heart.

Music
This anime, aside from being a romcom, also explores the life of a budding musician – albeit an extremely talented one, whose skills are taken almost as a given – so a lot of beautiful music is showcased. The type of music shown here is classical, and because a huge part of the plot has to do with music competitions and concert-level performances, the pieces are compositions of major European composers like Chopin and Beethoven. To a music novice like me, the central pieces all sound vaguely alike – enthralling, but so much like each other. The variety and the nuances between the compositions, however, are revealed to the ordinary viewer mainly through the imagery that is given when these pieces are played. Colors are utilized often – for example, red for passion, and pink for sorrow.

The BGM of the anime is a good combination of pop and classical music, and the songs have the saddest, most profound lyrics. The bubblegum pop songs balance out the heavy classical pieces, creating an exciting range of tunes to complement the art and the narrative of the anime.

Overall
I’m a fan of anime, but I tend to stay away from the emotional ones – my favorite genres are mecha and supernatural / horror. When a friend tells me that they cried over a particular anime, I make it a point to stay away from that anime, as I don’t enjoy having my emotions manipulated. Still, I absolutely enjoyed this show, and despite my stubbornness, I found myself tearing up at Episode 13. It was a long time coming.

More than anything, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso reminded me of what’s it’s like to be human – to feel, to struggle, to want to be alive. So rarely does an anime make one relish one’s humanity. If anything, I’ve always thought anime were supposed to an escape from reality, a means to forget. But for one afternoon, I watched 22 episodes of the wonderful Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso and felt hopeful again. For that, I will always be grateful that I watched it, fears of tears notwithstanding.

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This blog gives Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso 5 out of 5 stars.

International Title: Your Lie in April.
Language: Japanese.
Produced by: A-1 Pictures.
Genre: Romance | Music | Coming-of-Age | Drama.
Music by: Yokoyama Masaru.
Written by: Arakawa Naoshi (manga) | Yoshioka Takao (anime).
Directed by: Ishiguro Kyouhei.

Video (c) Animes-ZI14.

Why I Write Movie Reviews

I don’t like doing things without a point. Really, that’s all there is to it. I have a need to sum up every action neatly – so if I’m going to take the time to find a copy of a movie I want to watch, and if I’m going to spend around two hours watching it, then my mind won’t be at peace until I’ve properly reflected on what I thought of the film. Movies and books have the same effect on me: Even for just a moment, they make me step into a life I know I will never have in this universe. And because, for my own sake, I like preserving my several lifetimes in a virtual collection of memories, I write movie reviews. I post them in as orderly a way as I can – so that when I’m old and graying, and even less capable of navigating the Internet than I am today, I’ll be able to relive that moment when I was Fräulein Maria or Will Thacker. And then I’ll feel as though I’ve lived a thousand various lifetimes again.

My roommate L encourages me to write reviews semi-professionally, but I’m hesitant about the idea. In the first place, I have no background in film criticism and my understanding of literary theory is very basic – to the point that friends have scoffed at my ignorance to my face. I write reviews and grade films based on how they appealed to me when I watched them. Would I recommend this movie to a stranger from Botswana? Would people other than me be able to relate to its themes? Aside from these concerns, I don’t think much about who gets to read my reviews – although there are times when I hope that the people who made these films get to read what I think about them, because that might give their future work more perspective. Is it wrong to write these reviews primarily for myself? I wouldn’t know. I’m not sure how I’d be able to write differently anyway.

The plan for my life is very rigid, and none of my Excel sheets indicate a necessity to take my movie reviewing – or my blogging, for that matter – to a higher level. By this I mean that I don’t feel motivated to take film theory or production classes to add more layers to what I do. I’m happy writing from the perspective of an ordinary film viewer. If there should be instances when other ordinary film viewers would wander into this blog to read about the random reviews I’ve written, that would make me happy. I’d love to hear what they think about whatever I’d been talking about. But in this vast ocean of digital information, I think of myself as just one more lurker who quietly hopes but doesn’t expect to be noticed. Maybe my thoughts will make their way to the production companies to let them know what their viewers want, or maybe they won’t. Either way, I’m going to write about what I think about Enrique Gil’s singing and Matsumoto Jun’s inability to cry. Life is too short to keep constructive criticism to oneself.

So maybe that’s another reason I write movie reviews: It’s a way for me to politely and cerebrally project all my pent-up frustrations in life.

Hidamari no Kanojo (2013)

Okuda Kousuke (Matsumoto Jun) is an ordinary salaryman who just wants to fall in love. After unsuccessful attempts at being in a relationship, he comes across a classmate from junior high, Watari Mao (Ueno Juri). While the Mao he knew from before was an awkward, weird outcast, the Mao of the present is a cheerful, attractive and confident career woman. They work on a corporate project together, and the two of them reconnect to become lovers. Just as they get married, however, Mao develops a strange illness that links her to an old secret about who she had been before she entered Kousuke’s life.

Narrative
There are very many time-jumps featured in this story, and although the structure never gets confusing, there are moments when one would prefer that the movie stick to a linear timeline. Personally, I thought the build-up for the romance was a bit mild compared to most romantic comedies that stick cheesy one-liners and grand gestures right in front of one’s face. It’s not a major problem though, as the focus of the movie is Mao’s secret and how Kousuke adjusts to this as her husband. Their relationship as husband and wife is taken as a given, and is therefore not the main conflict of the story.

In terms of focus, each scene builds to the main question of what Mao’s secret is – no time is wasted, which is commendable considering this is a Japanese film and most of those progress at a glacial pace. The ending is open to interpretation, which makes the viewer confused as to what the filmmakers really wanted to get across, but the climax and its consequent catharsis were delivered adequately. Despite the questionable ending then, the movie is saved by its graceful and subtle exit.

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Acting
Matsumoto Jun is a veteran of romantic comedies, so it’s a given that he delivers his adorkable role well. He is certainly a pleasure to watch when he’s playing the role of awkward Kousuke – he fits into the character seamlessly, and it’s a bonus that he’s an undeniably good-looking human being. The problem lies in his inability to deliver his crying scenes well – his ‘moment of truth’ might be ruined for viewers who might be cringing from second-hand embarrassment as Matsumoto Jun struggles to look like he’s genuinely crying. Overall though, Kousuke was not badly acted. Anyone could have done what Matsumoto achieved, although perhaps they wouldn’t have looked as effortlessly attractive as he.

Given that most of the supporting characters are only on the fringes here, there is only Ueno Juri’s acting left to assess. For the most part, her acting is flat. I understand that her character is attractive, but I do not see the charm that sets her apart from those around her, not even in Kousuke’s perspective. I also have a feeling that Ueno’s acting was deeply limited – although whether by her by her role or by her talent, I can’t tell. It was a restrained performance and not very remarkable. More convincing were the actors who played young Kousuke (Kitamura Takumi) and young Mao (Wakana Aoi). They certainly looked like they had a deeper connection than their older counterparts did.

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Cinematography
The strength of ‘Hidamari no Kanojo’ is most definitely its visual appeal. For those who can enjoy romance movies, this movie is not a bad option if only because it’s so pretty to look at. A recurring theme of the movie is memory, and its general lighting supports the notion that the entire film is just a series of snapshots from Kousuke’s head. The muted colors bring to mind the sweetness of first love, and the excitement of rediscovering that love against the backdrop of a more vivid, edgier reality. Props to the editing team for making each scene screencap worthy – they might have taken into consideration that legions of fangirls who would be watching the movie and sharing screencaps to each other, and for that I’m happy.

Overall
‘Hidamari no Kanojo’ is not a waste of time, but it’s not a must-see either. This is one of those happy-while-I’m-watching-it films; if you’re looking for a movie with a take-home moral somewhere, this is not it. Maybe, after watching it, you’ll have a newfound fascination for the Beach Boys, but in terms of content, ‘Hidamari no Kanojo’ is extremely wanting of depth. And I’m not saying that just because I dislike the ending either.

This blog gives ‘Hidamari no Kanojo’ 3 out of 5 stars. If aesthetic value was all we judged films by, this might be considered a good movie. But because that’s not the case, we relegate the film to a ‘bored-to-death’ and ‘missing-Matsumoto-Jun’s-impossibly-handsome-face’ standard.

International Title: Girl in the Sunny Place.
Distributed by: Asmik Ace Entertainment | Toho.
Genre: Romance | Fantasy.
Starring: Matsumoto Jun | Ueno Juri | Kitamura Takumi | Wakana Aoi.
Written by: Koshigaya Osamu (2011 novel) | Mukai Kosuke.
Directed by: Miki Takahiro.

Video (c) takeruzone @ YouTube.

Just The Way You Are (2015)

Sophia Taylor (Liza Soberano) has come to the Philippines after the death of her mother, which she blames on her father. Due to her aversion to anything she deems frivolous like love, she immediately catches the eye of campus heartthrob Drake Sison (Enrique Gil) who is challenged by his friends to make Sophia fall in love with him within thirty days. Although he initially takes the bet lightly, Drake eventually falls in love with Sophia, and they learn to support each other through their respective family problems. As in all bets, however, someone always loses.

Narrative
While the individual stories of Sophia and Drake are given proper attention, the overall timeline is not straightforward enough to give the impression that the movie is driving at a certain message that it wants its viewers to understand. In the first place, the title has little to do with the themes presented in the movie. While ‘Just the Way You Are’ hints at identity-building, the recurring themes in the movie deal mainly with family and independence. One can argue that Drake falls for Sophia due to her headstrong nature, but over the course of the movie, doesn’t Sophia get the standard filmic Cinderella makeover and therefore ‘fits in’? Which aspect of that hints at one being loved for ‘Just The Way (You) Are’?

Characterization
Liza Soberano delivers a strong Sophia, and the chemistry between the two leads transcends the screen. You know there is hope for a love team when, despite the knowledge that you’re being manipulated to feel giddy and invested in a pairing, you go ahead and squeal in delight anyway. Enrique Gil is believable as both Drake the Douche and Drake the Besotted Gentleman. As my friend commented, however, perhaps they shouldn’t force him to sing in future movies. His talents are definitely more evolved in the dancing and acting departments – although maybe I only know this because I’ve seen him on television.

The supporting cast delivers strong performances as well, especially Drake and Sophia’s friends. Some characters could have been essential but were not handled properly – the character of Skye was unnecessary, and Cassidy was not given enough justice as the resident bitch owing to her actress’ limitations. Sophia and Drake’s families add dimension to their characters as well. For some viewers, it might actually be the family aspect of this movie that will pull them in, instead of them being invested in the romance.

Music
I counted and the song ‘Smile in Your Heart’ was played at least three times during the movie. It’s a great song – and effective the first time it was used – but the last time I checked we were watching a movie, not a music video extended to include the background stories of its lead characters. Nevertheless, music plays a role in this movie, albeit not a vital one. The viewer is made to understand that Sophia cares about music very much, but it doesn’t quite feel like it’s her life or it’s what she lives for. It’s just an aspect of her character that’s taken as natural.

What’s worse about the music being heavily used to establish scenes is that they pair this technique with the slow-motion / close-up cliché. You get a lot of unnecessary head-turning and deep eye contact in this film, and frankly, if you’ve seen that plenty of times before, it can get very annoying.

Overall
This movie is based on a novel entitled ‘The Bet’, which I’ve never read. The producers might have changed the title of the film adaptation because the book title lacked oomph, but at least the book title knew what it was all about. ‘Just the Way You Are’ is a bit all over the place, and although it’s never boring, during the last five minutes one starts wondering why they’re taking so much time to tie up loose ends. In sum, this is a great movie if you’re looking for happy vibes and giddy feels, but it’s not a classic. If anything, it only serves the convenient purposes of establishing Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil as capable actors and of proving that the LizQuen love team is a promising pairing to watch out for in future projects.

This blog gives ‘Just the Way You Are’ 3 out 5 stars. LizQuen proves its star power as one of the most talented and well-matched love teams in Philippine showbiz.

Title: Just The Way You Are.
Production: Star Cinema | Summit Media.
Starring: Liza Soberano | Enrique Gil.
Screenplay: Maan Dimaculangan-Fampulme | Ceres Helga Barrios.
Directed by: Theodore Boborol.

Video (c) Star Cinema @ YouTube.

French Film Fest Manila 2015

They say the best things in life are free, and I think that should be true especially for cultural appreciation. Thank God that in Metro Manila we’ve got a couple of international film fests running alternately the whole year, one of my favorites being the French Film Fest hosted annually by the French Embassy in Manila and their partner institutions and companies. This year marks their twentieth time to host this event, which means it’s bigger, brighter, and grander! Comparing with the previous years when I attended the event, I think the line-up this year is more diverse in terms of genre. Romantic comedies are a good way to catch the Filipino public’s eye, but I believe that romantic comedies alone will never be able to give the ordinary viewer a proper chance to observe the nuances of a society.

01I participated in the French Film Fest 2015 for three consecutive days, at its two different venues, to watch four different films. I was with three different sets of people, who had differing degrees of enthusiasm for the movies we watched. To compete for the raffle that the French Embassy hosted, I wrote reviews for: Le Havre; Les Garçons et Guillaume, à table! ; 108 Demon Kings; and, Saint Laurent. Each of these movies focuses on an aspect of the French society: Le Havre is about immigration; Les Garçons et Guillaume, à table! is about sexuality; 108 Demon Kings is an animated film with Oriental hints; and Saint Laurent is a biopic on one of France’s fashion icons. Of the four I’ve seen, my favorite is Les Garçons et Guillaume, à table! because it’s a wonderful movie, aside from being sensitive and curious about the ever-fluid topic of gender. It’s definitely a movie everyone should watch.

For my efforts – my four entries for their raffle contest, one for each of my movie reviews – I was one of the three winners of gift prizes from the French Embassy’s partners. I won a pair of sandals from Kickers. I love how they miraculously came in my size (EU 8) because it’s difficult for me to find appropriate shoes in department stores given most Filipinas have tiny feet. I met with Ms Camille Conde of the French Embassy (16F, Pacific Star Building, Makati City) to claim my prize. She was so nice – she even asked me if it was my first time to watch the movie, to which I replied that it was my second or third.

I’ll definitely be watching the French Film Fest again next year, although I do hope they open more venues outside Taguig and Makati. The crowd in Quezon City is very appreciative of international film fests as well – the UP Film Institute in UP Diliman is known for hosting international film fests regularly – and I think it would be a way to reach out to viewers who may not be comfortable in going all the way to Greenbelt and BGC Mall. This is just my opinion though – I’m sure there are reasons for the French Film Fest having been hosted at Greenbelt and BGC. In any case, the movies were great!