Please, not another boy-meets-girl story with over the top acting.
June 15, 2008 6:34 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for good Filipino movies (in Tagalog, with English subtitles) that are not cheesy soap operas. Bonus points if available through Netflix.

I'm of Filipino descent, and would like to explore the better side of Filipino cinema. So far, the only Filipino movies I've seen are corny romance stories, with the exception of Kidlat Tahimik's Turumba. Any other recommendations? Thanks in advance:-)
posted by invisible ink to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Cavite is a Filipino-American (set mostly in the city of the same name) film with both English and Tagalog dialog. It's pretty good.
posted by Bookhouse at 6:50 PM on June 15, 2008

IMDB has a couple, but those include non-Tagalog movies where there's just a short Tagalog part. Adjust the parameters for Filipino, lower minimum scores, etc..

Good luck finding any of them on Netflix — most of them don't even seem to be available on DVD. Surely you guys use p2p too?
posted by stereo at 7:08 PM on June 15, 2008

Best answer: if you can find anything by lino brocka, mike de leon, or ishmael bernal, watch them—they're my three favorite of the older generation of filipino directors.

more modern stuff (with the caveat that because manila is small and i went to up diliman, these four people are all friends of friends): jeffrey jeturian's kubrador (his tuhog is fantastic, but might not make sense to you), quark henares' keka, aureus solito's ang pagdadalaga ni maximo oliveros, yam laranas' sigaw (which he's currently remaking for hollywood as the echo).

this page has a list of movies the writer has reviewed, most of which are fantastic and exactly what you're looking for, so it's a good place to start.
posted by lia at 8:33 PM on June 15, 2008

Caregiver's a new movie starring Sharon Cuneta about... caregivers, OFW's. There's supposed to be an international screening so maybe you could check if it's in your area (it has premiered in California.)
posted by drea at 9:04 PM on June 15, 2008

Best answer: Ditto what lia says, you won’t go wrong with Brocka or Bernal.

I’m sorry, but Netflix just sucks as far as Pinoy flicks go. Sites like Cinefilipino and Kabayan Central might have more of the stuff you want. Cinefilipino in particular has a great selection of some of the best Filipino movies ever made, so I suggest you start there.

Here’s a short list of films you can start with. I’ve included links to likely purchase outlets where possible.

Himala: a small town is turned upside down when a young girl reveals her visions of the Virgin Mary. This is arguably Nora Aunor’s best performance ever, and her line near the end (“walang himala!”) is one of the most quoted lines in Philippine cinema.

Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang: a teenage boy in a small town witnesses the hypocrisy of society first hand, as he befriends two of the town’s social outcasts.

Manila By Night: Of this film, critic Noel Vera writes: "It seems every major Filipino filmmaker has to make at least one noir film where the city of Manila is a main character; Ishmael Bernal's Manila By Night is easily the most sophisticated--and sardonic--of the genre, and the most difficult to describe." (Vera's review covers some of the films I've listed here, so you might want to check that out too.)

Oro Plata Mata: the fall of two haciendero families from Negros, the Ojedas and the Lorenzos, as the Japanese close in during World War II. (trailer)

Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros: A gay boy falls in love with a young policeman – too bad his father and brothers are small-time crooks. (trailer)

Insiang: Directed by Lino Brocka. Insiang lives in a shanty with her mother and her mother’s lover. The men in her life let her down badly, so she decides on revenge.

Karnal: A young couple’s relationship is shattered when the husband’s father begins to lust after his daughter-in-law.

Crying Ladies: Three down-on-their-luck ladies try alternative careers as hired mourners for funerals.

Magnifico: Poor boy tries to raise money for his cancer-stricken grandmother. Magnifico's writer also wrote Maximo Oliveros.

Ina, Kapatid, Anak: “the story of half-sisters competing for the love of men. Emilia, played by Charito Solis, seeks the love that her father shows to the more favored daughter, Pura. Played by Lolita Rodriguez, Pura is after the attention of a man seduced by Emilia into marriage to spite her.”

Maynila: Sa Kuko ng Liwanag: Another Brocka classic – the story of a man searching for his lost love in the city’s gritty underbelly.

Kisapmata: Protective father is very upset at his daughter’s impending marriage... very, very upset.

Boatman: Didn’t see it myself, but here’s a NY Times synopsis.

Of the ones I’ve seen, I highly recommend Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang and Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros . The ones I haven’t seen, I know by reputation. (We covered Lino Brocka for our thesis, and a lot of these films kept coming up as the best of that silver age of cinema in the 70s and 80s.)

If all else fails, you can’t go wrong with the winners of the Gawad Urian film awards.

Good luck!
posted by micketymoc at 10:56 PM on June 15, 2008

Response by poster: Maranging salamat po!! Thank you everyone, for giving me so much to go on. I look forward to checking all of these out.
posted by invisible ink at 2:13 AM on June 16, 2008

Best answer: I take back what I said about Netflix, apparently it does carry some of the films I’ve mentioned above: Happy viewing!
posted by micketymoc at 2:32 AM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

And i forgot to add this one: Himala on Netflix.

I suggest you start with this one and go on from there.
posted by micketymoc at 2:36 AM on June 16, 2008

Ang Lalaki Sa Buhay Ni Selya.
The Jose Rizal film with Cesar Montano.

And yeah, pretty much everything micketymoc posted -- many of those were staples of Film Theory class with Fr. Cruz in Ateneo.
posted by brownpau at 7:42 AM on June 16, 2008

Another victim of Father Nick, I see. The wife and I loved his class so much, we asked him to officiate at our wedding. And he did!

Anyway, I’m officially impressed by Netflix. I looked up some of the other titles mentioned by lia and brownpau, as well as other stuff that Father Nick would name-drop. Here are their titles, linked to its page on Netflix.
posted by micketymoc at 5:42 PM on June 16, 2008

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