Obviously, there would be SPOILERS here and there:
1. The immaculate smile that performance artist Russ Ligtas radiates upon knowing she is conceiving in Ara Chawdhury’s Miss Bulalacao reveals the woman she has always been. It’s the same smile she paints so beautifully when she receives a puppy to nurture and live her life for.
2. In the time of millennials and gender nonconformity, Best Actor winner Dino Pastrano prides himself as the owner of the borderline annoying shrieks that pertain to different levels of his bewilderment in Joel Ferrer’s sophomore film Baka Siguro Yata.
3. In Jover’s Hamog, former singing champion OJ Mariano painfully shows Best Actress winner Teri Malvar the new house he has tried to build from scratch, only to reveal with so much resolve that the woman he wanted to live it with should be better off dead.
4. Ralston Jover, the writer-director of Hamog, seemingly recreates the same premise his deceased wife wrote for Brillante Mendoza’s Lola in a bittersweet homage. Both films employed a tinge of magic realism and characters that live off roadside thievery.
5. Reciting a conceivably sensuous narrative portion off Nick Joaquin’s Summer Solstice, revolutionary chief Jose Maria Sison wanted to beat himself up like the school nerd he once was after faltering just right through the last sentence in his Utrecht-side interview for Sari Dalena’s 3 hour docu-biopic Dahling Nick.
6. After feeling her breasts up in a moment of despair and sadness, cancer-stricken Biring is struck by the noise coming from her darkened living room. She was infuriated to see a youngish thief of the night. He almost lost his living daylights seeing the old woman’s exposed left breast.
7. “Sheba, Sheba, open your eyes! The apes defile the ivory temple, the peacocks chant dark blasphemies…” and the winner of Dahling Nick’s oral interpretation contest is none other than literary critic and poet Jimmy Abad for his impassioned recitation of Nick Joaquin’s The Innocence of Solomon.
8. The Comeback is actually Sheena Ramos’ own comeback. A muse to actor-filmmaker Ivan Payawal, Sheena we still remember was the well-loved half-child/half-fish Palikpik of science television’s Sine’skwela in the late 1990s. Her compelling performance as the loyal PA was our most favorite.
9. The Comeback proves that a “Greek Chorus” should really have characters written with distinct traits, quirks, and nuances. Otherwise, the “singing” would be terribly loud and insufferable.
10. In what could be this year’s best camera direction ever committed on screen, Director Bor Ocampo and cinematographer Albert Banzon smoothly follow the mayor’s goons as they thread the labyrinthine path towards the nook where dogs are sold as delicacies.
11. Apparently, Lance Raymundo’s en pointe depiction of the iconic Filipino dictator in Dahling Nick was only mimicked after listening to a few sound bites hours before shooting his scenes. Raymond Bagatsing, who admittedly had to turn to Method to play the iconic literary genius after a long arduous characterization process, was very impressed.
12. In Miss Bulalacao’s beauty pageant, Russ Ligtas’ took a long moment to answer the echoed Miss Universe 1994 final question – quite perhaps the same liberty Miss India Sushmita Sen took before finally giving the winning “motherhood” answer.
13. The Comeback actually sounds off the same premise of the HBO show with the same title. Except the spritely Valerie Cherish is more obsessed with launching her delusional but actual comeback, rather than the suicidal Angela Velasco’s obsession with finding the rightful caretaker of a dead man’s urn.
14. After years of production setbacks, Ocampo’s Dayang Asu emerges as one of the best Filipino films produced this year.
15. Carl Joseph Papa disclosed during the gala premiere of his sophomore film Manang Biring that just like his film’s protagonist, his own mother didn’t tell him her terminal illness until it was already too late. She had conducted herself as if she was not about to die to spare her children the sadness of waiting for her final days.
16. Raymond Red's Mga Rebeldeng May Kaso is neither about insurgents nor a court case. It's about a group of filmmakers who are cramming to finish a short film that is scheduled to be shown later that night, but unanimously decides that stalling further the madness of their impending geniuses by drinking a case of beer will better push the pen that writes the love letter to their feisty mentor.
17. Interestingly, Mga Rebeldeng May Kaso "suspiciously" intercuts with b-rolls of "actual" shots captured two and half decades ago. This is until the supposed third act belies the suspicion amidst the music that rather seems ebbing familiarly