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Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino 2019 entries reviewed

This year's Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino wasn't as bad as I expected. Although I am very displeased by how it was organized (including screenplays as one of the basis of its film selection), I found myself enjoying some of the films.

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Boy 2 Quizon's 'I'm Ellenya L'
Boy 2 Quizon's 'I'm Ellenya L.' is a personal favorite, one that I think best represent the crowd-pleaser it seems to be targeting out of its mass audience. There's an undeniable charm in all of its moments, like a television sitcom that mostly limits itself to grind as much fun as it can.

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Tye Acierto's 'Watch Me Kill'
Tye Acierto's 'Watch Me Kill' is a noir thriller that seems to foreign when positioned next to Filipino titles of the same genre. It's the type of film expected for a young filmmaker excited to play around with film languages. 

There is enough confidence present in Acierto's work here but wasn't fond of how he tied up an interesting story. Still, I welcome its choices, from bizarre to the mundane, wholeheartedly.  

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Jun Robles Lana's 'The Panti Sisters'
I might be on the minority here, but Jun Robles Lana's 'The Panti Sisters' feels reminiscent of Dolphy's comedies, which would normally conclude with a dramatic pay-off. 

There's angst in its jokes surrounding gender inequality and patriarchy, but the film works best when it lets sympathy and forgiveness become the answer for its conflict. 

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Andoy Ranay's 'Open'
'Open' by Andoy Ranay sets the record really straight for the implications of an open-relationship among couples. 

The film plays more of a case study, a re-enactment of a situation, but it was able to lift itself if not for the performance of its lead Arci Munoz. Vulnerability on camera seems to be her usual motif, but she really wins the entire film by just being a very powerful character by the end. It's hard not to root for her.

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Jade Castro's 'LSS
'LSS,' Jade Castro's musical featuring songs from the band Ben & Ben, takes some time to really let its romance flow smoothly. 

The boy and girl in its love story would settle for their own conflicts and dreams individually. But in their movie-like interactions, inside the bus or during a gig, becomes magical and earnest. Of course in sync of a Ben&Ben song. 

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