Endearing “Adela” opens Cinemalaya 2008

Endearing Adela opens Cinemalaya 2008
Recap by Vives Anunciacion
Inquirer Libre July 14, 2008

Adolf Alix Jr.’s Adela is a story about loneliness, particularly the kind experienced by the elderly who have lost all their loved ones. Ms. Anita plays Adela, a former radio voice talent living by herself in the dumpsites off Cavite’s coastal road. On that particular day in the movie, Adela celebrates her 80th birthday all by her lonesome self.

She encounters a number of characters as the day progresses – the barangay captain who invites her to attend a political rally, the young couple who just had their baby literally on the street across Adela’s house, an enterprising petty snatcher who sells her stuff he had most likely just taken from somebody else, and an old co-worker whom she bumps into when she drops by Baclaran Church. They are all magnetized towards Adela, as she is a wellspring of goodness and faith. But in the end, they are mere passers-by in her life. As the sun sets that day, she walks off to the sandy edge of the coast with a picnic basket in one arm, pulls out a blanket, sits, and eats the pancit she cooked herself.

Adela strongly captures the Filipino sentimentality why we, in general, never bring our elderly to foster homes. Despite a few technical inconsistencies and a short emotional arc, (actually the movie can still stand the same way if it were cut shorter into a short film) the movie succeeds early on in evoking the sense of loneliness felt by the elderly who are left off to fend for themselves. Ms. Linda takes Adela by the heart and slaps her loneliness at the audience with ferocity it is impossible not to be moved by her. This shouldn’t happen to us, she is probably screaming in her head. But she is silent, as the buzzing sound of the cicada increases in the background to an annoying shrill.

As for the other films featured in Cinemalaya I have seen a few just yet. The Juday-starrer Ploning by Ron Garcia is visually engaging, although the screening was hampered by technical difficulties in sound. Full-length finalist My Fake American Accent by Onnah Valera and Ned Trespeces is a fun and often funny 401 on the call center industry. Mailes Kanapi as Team Leader is a blast. Baby Angelo by Joel Ruiz, I can’t write about, as I am directly involved in its production.

The 4th Cinemalaya Film Festival opened last Friday, July 11 with a festive “punk perya” theme on the Main Theater Ramp. Competition Chair Laurice Guillen introduced the finalists in the short and full length categories.

On the second day of the festival, the National Council for Children’s Television presented a special children’s section called Cinemalaya Kids’ Treat featuring kid-friendly short films.

The festival resumes today with the first day of the Cinemalaya Film Congress under the theme, Spreading the News: Promoting, Distributing and Exhibiting Indie Films to be paneled by film artists, technicians and businessmen. On Wednesday, Cinemalaya pays tribute to film pioneer Manuel Conde with a retrospective of his landmark works such as Genghis Khan and Ibong Adarna. Cinemalaya 2008 runs until Sunday, July 20.

For more information, contact CCP Marketing Dept. at 551-7930 or 832-1125 local 1800 to 1808 and the CCP Box Office at 832-3704 or 832-1125 local 1409.

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