ToFarm Film Festival 2017 reviews (Part 2): Baklad, What Home Feels Like, Kamunggai

Jul 21, 2017
tofarm film festival review

I really don't know what 'Baklad' really wants. It is a film that feels lost in a film line-up that seeks to cultivate the goals of the festival. While there's still something to find here that somehow relates to it, it seems the film doesn't even demand nor want it in the first place. 

baklad tofarm film festival review

It follows a group of illegal fish pen workers composed of teenage boys. The group is headed by an engineer, who one day takes a new wife with him. This triggers a young man (Romwaldo Martin) to develop sexual awakening over her. But the price in exchange for this affection is going to dangerous.

baklad tofarm film festival review

Baklad’ is an erotica driven by the overwhelming presence of sexism. There are only 3 female characters here, and their objectification doesn’t seem to have an end goal. Success is measured by marrying a big-shot for the sake of larger cash. Even most of the male characters here are portrayed as submissive figures. 
baklad tofarm film festival review

The film is painful to watch, a real waste where it could have gone. 

Our next film, incidentally, is also painful to watch. Joseph Abello’s OFW drama ‘What Home Feels Like’ hits when it has to. It is one of those films that seemingly play its moments as an avenue for eventual sympathy. But this is something that does not want you to feel pity, it allows you to reflect on yourself as an individual. 

what home feels like tofarm film festival review

Bembol Roco plays a seafarer who arrives back home at the Philippines for a temporary break. But his arrival was welcomed by something he was not prepared for: the emotional disconnection by his children. It leads to him trying to fill the gaps of his long absences, while dealing with the pressures of other things.

what home feels like tofarm film festival review

The emotions introduced here for the characters are anything but infectious. Everything felt raw, thanks to the terrific performances from the cast led by Roco and Irma Adlawan. Our local cinema has produced a lot of OFW dramas, but what sets this film apart from the rest is the isolation the overseas worker has to face from his own, personal home. It’s the type of struggle that really creates the most tragic drama. 

what home feels like tofarm film festival review

What Home Feels Like’ explores proximity as the dispensable measure for human connection. It is genuine, resonant, and beautifully humane. 

Out of all six entries from this year’s ToFarm Film Festival, it is Victor Acedillo, Jr.’s ‘Kamunggai’ that stays truest to its advocacies. This is a film that is solely built on upholding the importance of agriculture to communities, nothing more.

kamunggai tofarm film festival review

It tells the story of an old man who became greedy of his neighbors that treats his garden as if it was a small market, taking advantage of his own plants. When a grandson arrived to stay at his house, his patience will be tested.

kamunggai tofarm film festival review

The film resorts for nothing but simplicity. There are no larger-than-life problems here, nor big confrontation set pieces. Its greatest conflict wasn’t even that eye-opening to begin with. 

kamunggai tofarm film festival review

But this decision to oversimplify makes its emotions feel undercooked and unearned. A conflict throughout the movie was resolved to an extent wherein the characters seem to react on the wrong moments. The film lacks enough charm the characters already have. ‘Kamunggai’ addresses what it needs to address, but there’s barely anything under it.

Photo credits: Screengrabs from 'Baklad,' 'What Home Feels Like,' and 'Kamunggai' trailers

Geek out by following The Film Geek Guy:

Facebook: The Film Geek Guy
Twitter: @matthew_escosia
Instagram: matthewescosia


Related Posts


{{posts[0].date}} {{posts[0].commentsNum}} {{messages_comments}}


{{posts[1].date}} {{posts[1].commentsNum}} {{messages_comments}}


{{posts[2].date}} {{posts[2].commentsNum}} {{messages_comments}}


{{posts[3].date}} {{posts[3].commentsNum}} {{messages_comments}}