A reporter took to Instagram to air his sentiments on the films that made the official list of Metro Manila Film Festival this year. The scribe said that these films can encourage people to have meaningful discussions after watching them.
Given that films are generally made to entertain audience, the scribe rather contradicts the real purpose of the MMFF and the big screen entertainment in general. First, you don’t watch a comedy, an action, a drama, a fantasy or a thriller film for that matter then sit down with your friends and family members to dissect the film as if you’re doing a film review. That doesn’t just happen in real life. In reality, moviegoers would just ask: How was it? And you would get an instantaneous response: It was lit, it was good…you should watch it. You may also get this response: The film was bad, you can watch it but don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.
Similarly, audience would not look for hidden symbolism, thoroughly analyze a film’s characterization and delve into the conflict it presents. Unless, the viewers are part of the academe or a group of people who passionately do film critiques or discussions, then it’s easy to understand where they are coming from.
This general idea, however, does not validate Mother Lily Monteverde’s claim that all her films are entertaining or Vice Ganda’s statement that all of his films are of high quality. The viewing public, although in high spirits during Christmas season, still think and can determine whether or not the film offered is worth their money.
In this year’s list though, Vince, Kath and James, Die Beautiful and the sequel to Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank come as the frontrunners based on their commercial appeal. The moviegoers already have the idea of the kind of big screen entertainment these films can provide as they seem to be easy to digest unlike the other films that made the list in this year Tagalog film fest.
We understand that for the longest time there has been an antagonistic relationship between indies and mainstream. While indies are regarded for their creativity and substance, mainstream movies are known for their commercial appeal. Marrying the two is possible, there are a few indie films that were able to make it big at the tills and at the same time win the approval of the critics for keeping their purity and for successfully battling the constant restriction they face in terms of budget and marketing.
While we can hurl all the negative remarks on mainstream movies like shallow and contrive, in the spirit of fairness, have provided general public a good kind of entertainment. It’s a challenge for big production outfits to explore edgy territories, which indies have masterfully perfected, because at the end of the day, movie making for the mass is a business venture. A production company wouldn’t release a product that wouldn’t sell.
In this respect, don’t challenge or even insult the intelligence of the moviegoers specially the millenials who comprise a big percentage of the movieoing public. They know exactly what they want as evidenced by the type of films that emerge successful at the box office and in the hearts of the more discerning viewers.
So, going back to the question posted above, whether or not the millennials would watch all of these films come Christmas season…the answer is maybe. If your idea of a Christmas movie is something that presents poverty porn, made with limited budget, a story not commonly discussed by mainstream cinema, or a film project created by someone who is frustrated to tap mainstream audience but miserably failed, please don’t count us in.
Perhaps, if the movie is presented by Cinemalaya, which is known as venue to this alternative cinema, then the answer would be a resounding yes. And maybe, the meaningful and critical conversation the scribe has pointed out may finally happen.