2015 has been a hell of a ride for Philippine Cinema with all of the controversies that Cinemalaya has faced and survived. The quality of films being released this year are in question and being debated, but I was able to pull together a list of the 10 best movies of 2015 means it couldn’t have been so bad after all. Here’s my pick for what I think are the notable local films of 2015:
Imbisibol tells the tale of illegal Filipino immigrants in Japan and their plight to evade authorities.
Director: Lawrence Fajardo
9. WATER LEMON
Set in the sleepy coastal town of Mauban, Quezon, follows the story of an aging mother, her brilliant son with Asperger Syndrome, and an old man who owns a computer shop.
Director: Lemuel Lorca
Bambanti questions the prejudice of the rich towards the poor when a son of a househelp is suspected to have stolen the employer’s missing golden watch.
Director: Zig Dulay
7. MISS BULALACAO
After being crowned “Miss Bulalacao” in their community’s fiesta bayot pageant, teenaged Dodong flees into the mango grove to escape yet another one of his drunken father’s beatings; there he encounters robed creatures of light and falls into a deep slumber. A few weeks later he is discovered to be pregnant, and this sets off a series of small-town and rumor-fueled events.
Director: Ara Chawdhury
6. MANAG BIRING
Manang Biring is a story of a terminally ill but feisty old lady who has learned to accept that she will soon pass away. One day, she receives a letter from her long estranged daughter saying that she will be home for Christmas. Knowing that she will not make it, Biring will go to great lengths to prolong her life and to give her daughter a Happy Christmas.
Director: Carl Joseph Papa
5. APOCALYPSE CHILD
Simple story of friendship, loyalty, and desire that unravels the fractured nature of identity and delves in how truth can sometimes be the contorted lies people tell about themselves.
Director: Mario Cornejo
4. AN KUBO SA KAWAYANAN
Michelle has a strange love story with her house by the bamboo grove, with which she developed a language, with things functioning as words only she could understand.
Director: Alvin Yapan
3. PUSONG WAZAK
Ruined Heart is the classic love story between a gangster and a prostitute, but Khavn “deconstructs this often recounted tale to explore in fleeting images the likelihood of dying too early from the violence so omnipresent in the Philippines today”.
Director: Khavn de la Cruz
2. ANINO SA LIKOD NG BUWAN
Anino Sa Likod Ng Buwan (Shadow Behind The Moon) follow the story of a husband and wife who are refugees of war and their fragile friendship with a military man. What starts as a night of playing cards slowly escalates into a terrifying struggle for survival when deep secrets are revealed threatening to destroy everyone.
Director: Jun Lana
1. ABOVE THE CLOUDS
A 15-year-old boy goes on a hiking trip with his estranged grandfather, and overcomes the grief of losing his parents on a mountain above the clouds.
Director: Pepe Diokno
If 10 is not enough for you, here’s my Top 11 to 20 Best Pinoy Films of 2015.
11. Balikbayan # 1 by Kidlat Tahimik
12. Ari: My Life with a King by Carlo Encisco Catu
13. Honor Thy Father by Erik Matti
14. Heneral Luna by Jerrold Tarog
15. Sleepless by Prime Cruz
16. Kid Kulafu by Paul Soriano
17. Ninja Party by JIm Libiran
18. Tandem by King Palisoc
19. Hamog by Ralston Jover
20. Taklub by Brillante Mendoza