Offering something different for discerning film lovers from November 8 to 17, giving Pinoy indie cinema a shot in the arm.
MANILA - Showing off Erik Matti’s masterful direction in this tale of a life gone awry, Cinema One’s opening salvo for their multi-theater film fest featured Michiko Yamamoto’s brand of juxtaposed delicate and brutal scenery and language, eloquent and ironic production design and cinematography, as well as the acting prowess of several silver-screen personalities, headlined by John Lloyd Cruz.
Illustrating how in some cases the thin line between organized crime and organized religion can be breached, “Honor Thy Father” is an exquisite tale told with symbolism/images, sound, and color. The fact that three generations of matinee idols are in this film should be interesting, given that they essay different types of flawed men. Tirso Cruz III plays the bishop of a Christian group calling itself the Church Of Yeshua our Savior (COYS), a modern-day Pharisee donning his white garb, like whitewash concealing a grave with rotting flesh. As Pastor Obet, William Martinez is one of the most dangerous liars you’ll find on earth –the kind that truly believes in their own lies.
And he-with-eyes-that-speak-volumes-with-one-look, John Lloyd Cruz is Edgar the family man with a dark past—someone who could tenderly look at his weepy daughter one moment to silently comfort her during a principal’s tirade, then shoot a sharp look at the principal when she tries to bring God into the discussion. Meryll Soriano more than ably takes on the role of Kaye, Edgar’s beloved wife—beautiful, but brittle/delicate at the core, a veneer that cracks at the first sign of trouble, which crumbles over the course of the film.
When Edgar’s father-in-law absconds with the hard earned savings of many people in the community, and runs afoul of a couple with murder in mind, a house of cards comes tumbling down, as masks are pulled away and “nice” so-called God-fearing folk turn into demons with vengeance in their hearts, still clad in the holy/hypocritical white of pious churchgoers.
Thoughtfully made, paced and planned well, the use of original music contributes to the mood of the film. The sounds of the pickaxe digging into a garden plot at the beginning echoes the sounds of pickaxes chipping away inside Bontoc’s labyrinthine tunnels when Edgar returns to seek the assistance of his family in pulling off a heist. It’s like “The Shawshank Redemption” in reverse –instead of having a hero crawl through excrement to be washed clean by the rain at the end of his ordeal—Edgar mires himself in more trouble just to save his wife and child.
People would groan about the lack of good choices during the Metro Manila Film Fest (MMFF), when theaters would be locked into screening limited local fare, often serving up schlock that even audiences would deride for being second-rate copycats, but had producers mysteriously earning profits like they were shooting fish in a barrel.
Happily, this fish is willing to plunk down some hard-earned clams to watch “Honor Thy Father” again –even when it gets renamed “Conman” for the MMFF.
For more information on Cinema One Originals’ films and screenings, please log on to https://www.facebook.com/CinemaOneOriginals/