ToFarm Film Festival 2018 entries reviewed

Sep 16, 2018
sol searching movie review tofarm

I have a very soft spot on advocacy film festivals. With the amount of film festivals we have now in the Philippines, it's hard to associate each of them with a specific branding, which although liberating in content, can easily be leaned towards a vague goal. 

A film festival works best when it's an institution that's clear in what it does. We knew from the get-go that ToFarm is assembled from its mission to cultivate agriculture value in a more accessible channel, and seeing this mission transcended into a variety of stories is a very exciting movement. 


This year, ToFarm Film Festival granted production over six new films. I have only seen three films out of the bunch, and things got pretty interesting since the last one. 

sol searching movie review tofarm

'Sol Searching' is quite an arresting film, largely because it puts you immediately on the spot. The hook comes following the death of teacher Sol. Friends, colleagues, and family assemble to create the most fitting send-off for her, even if the expected chaos ensues. 

The film does not only acknowledges it as a dark comedy, it fully embraces it. Some of its laughs generally works because we knew its crude. Sol as a character is flawed if not, a product of a flawed community. She is a woman of advocacy, from farming to education. Its biggest irony is the fact that the people who are set to celebrate her are the ones who damaged her. And things got pretty dark when we learn that this celebration is put for another purpose.

mga anak ng kamote movie review tofarm

I was eager to catch 'Mga Anak ng Kamote' by Carlo Enciso Catu because I deeply adore his first two features 'Ari' and Cinemalaya Best Picture this year 'Kung Paano Hinintay ang Dapithapon.' I do believe he's one of the film directors to look out for, and it's nice to see him take on a more ambitious path for his new feature. 

It is set in the future, which pretty much resembles our current politics. The only difference is kamote (sweet potato) is illegal on this world, and are likened to a dangerous drug substance. While confident about its new concepts, a lot of it never really gotten a more satisfying representation. 'Mga Anak ng Kamote' stumbles down because it seeks to mystifies, only does the mystification just doesn't have the necessary backdrop to be effective.

tanabata's wife movie review tofarm

The greatest compliment I can give to 'Tanabata's Wife' was the fact that it could very well pass off as a Yasujiru Ozu feature. Like most of Ozu's works, the film is dream-like and emotions are more internal. It's unfair to compare, but I don't think it will work as it is without the influences of Japanese films. In the end credits, Ozu and Akira Kurosawa among others were acknowledged. Like the story it was presenting, a welcoming marriage of Japanese and Philippine influences. 

tanabata's wife movie review tofarm

The film is arguably one of the best this year. I don't need to tell more. Go in and let it seep through you. Powerful stuff. But do watch out for Miyuki Kamimura, what a performance he has in store for this!

ToFarm Film Festival 2018 is currently running at the following cinemas until September 19, 2018: SM Megamall, SM Manila, Robinsons Galleria, Trinoma, Greenbelt 1, Gateway, and Gaisano Davao.

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