Alimuom ng kahapon [Shadows of Yesterday] (2015)

Alimuom ng kahapon
Director: Rosswil Hilario
Writer: Rosswil Hilario, Rolando InocencioJulius Lumiqued
Cast: Angelo IlaganD.M. SevillaJong CuencoMailes KanapiManuel ChuaSebastian CastroJubail Andres
Part of: Transition Festival
Seen on: 16.11.2017

Emman (Angelo Ilagan) is a student who devotes most of his time to activism, protesting school fees and trying to create a more equal world for everybody. Nathan (D.M. Sevilla) is sent to one of the demonstrations to take photos for his newspaper. When he sees Emman, he feels immediately drawn to him and continues to go to demos. When violence erupts at one of those, Nathan pulls Emman to safety, kicking off a relationship that has to deal with more than its fair share of problems.

Shadows of Yesterday is a film that tries a lot and fails a lot. But at least they tried, I have to give them props for that.

On a technical level, the film is a catastrophe. Editing, sound, cinematography and acting were all really bad. Certain allowances have to be made, of course, for the fact that this is a film about a gay couple made in the Philippines, so funds were certainly really, really tight and probably limited to what the filmmakers themselves could give to the film. But that knowledge doesn’t really make the quality any better, just my judgement of it a little more lenient.

Despite the technological shortcomings and some considerable lengths and emotional hysterics towards the end, there is something loveable about the film. It has its heart in the right place, tries to make political statements, has a nice story and an unusual (for a European) setting.

It felt to me like the film didn’t only want to be (one of) the first film(s) about a homosexual couple from the Philippines, it wanted to be everything: a statement about politics and politicians in the country in general, a statement against homophobia (at least when it comes to gay men, there are practically no women at all in the film, nevermind lesbians), and a great and (of course) tragic love story.

It’s not surprising that the film can’t really give all of those things their due. The ending was also a little weird for me. But still, I think it’s a film worth seeing, even though it didn’t leave me too enthusiastic – if only for the unusual setting.

Summarizing: Not great, but interesting.

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