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A Checklist Of All The Must-See Films At The 2019 C1 Originals Festival

For Manila cinephiles, Christmas comes early, thanks to the C1 Originals Festival that kicks off come November 7th and runs for 10 glorious days

Trinoma, Glorietta, Ayala Manila Bay, Power Plant, and Gatewayfor movie lovers, these malls’ cinemas will be their mecca come November 7 to 17. And let’s not forget UPFI Cine Adarna, Cinematheque Centre Manila, Black Maria, Cinema ‘76, and Cinema Centenario. These 10 locations are spreading early Christmas cheer, and I’m officially nominating Cinema One’s Ronald Arguelles as our skinniest Santa Claus. Thanks to wonderful curating and distribution of limited resources, we have a windfall of cinema delights from all over the world, and there’s a high level of quality to anticipate.

First off, there are the eight C1 Originals participating in the main competition, and they’re a diverse bunch that shows a lot of promise. In no particular order, they are:


Centers on a high school reunion and a 30-year-old protagonist who is forced to confront his old life, including an ex-boyfriend. Gio Gahol and Topper Fabregas lead the movie.


A romance fantasy, where the main character lives vicariously through her dreams, and then crosses paths with another lucid dreamer. Which reality becomes more attractive? It stars Alessandra de Rossi and JM de Guzman.


A vampire thriller but with a premise of vampires as blood drug lords, with a morgue intern getting caught up in their machinations. It stars Anna Luna and Sarah Carlos.

Tia Madre

Filipino gothic horror where a hyper-imaginative young girl begins to suspect her mother is turning into something inhuman. Cherie Gil and Jana Agoncillo are in the lead roles.


An action film that enmeshes the lives of a rookie police officer, a videographer, and an undercover agent. It is led by Enzo Pineda and Vin Abrenica.


A coming-of-age story of a 14-year-old born with both male and female genitals. It stars child actor Gold Aceron.

Yours Truly, Shirley

This comedy features a 50-year-old widow who believes a young pop star is the reincarnation of her dead husband. Could she be right? It stars Regine Velasquez-Alcasid.

Tayo Muna Habang Hindi Pa Tayo

A romance drama that asks whether love can exist and survive without any commitment. Jane Oineza and JC Santos lead the cast.

In the World Cinema section, we can look forward to:

The Lighthouse

Robert Eggers’ film opens the festival, and it’s a psychological horror film that stars Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe. Weird, unsettling, and bizarre, this may be a challenge to watch, but ultimately rewarding.

The Truth

Written and directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda, and starring Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche, this film follows his Shoplifters of last year, and it’s a comedy/drama, with Deneuve as an aging actress who publishes her memoirs.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire 

The film from Celine Sciamma won the Queer Palm at Cannes this year. In the late 18th century Brittany, a female painter is commissioned to do a portrait of a young woman who’s about to get married.

Matthias & Maxime

From Xavier Dolan, this Canadian film premiered in Cannes and follows two lifelong friends whose relationship is tested when they act in a short film and are required by the script to kiss each other.

The Two Popes

From Fernando Meirelles, the Netflix film stars Anthony Hopkins as Pope Benedict and Jonathan Price as Pope Francis. It explores the relationship and friendship between one conservative Pope and a far more liberal future Pope.

The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao

A Brazilian film billed as a tropical melodrama about two sisters in Rio, making their way through life and each mistakenly believing the other is living out her dreams half a world away.

The Father

This Bulgarian film chronicles a very unique father-son relationship, dealing with grief, and touched by absurdist and surreal elements. This revolves around the funeral of the wife/mother of the two.

Under Special Event Screenings, we have:

Knives Out

Rian Johnson’s homage to Agatha Christie films, and stars Daniel Craig, Chris Evans and a host of acting greats. This earned rave notices in Toronto. Just one screening on the 16th.


Paul Soriano’s latest film stars Bela Padilla as a military sniper whose dismissal from duty leads to an emotional downward spiral with grave consequences. Written by Lav Diaz, this competed in the Tokyo International Film Festival.

Dead Kids

This one is from Mikhail Red, and this will soon stream on Netflix as the first Philippine-made Original movie. It’s a black comedy about high school kids who kidnap one of their classmates, the son of a powerful narco-politician.

Quite a lot to choose from! The Originals look varied and interesting, and I don’t need to stress about how high the bar has been raised with the World Cinema and Special Events Screening sections. It’s a true golden rush of films to catch as so many of the films aren’t likely to get commercial runs anytime in the near future.

See you at the cinemas and congratulations in advance to Ronald and Cinema One.

Raymund Ribay Gutierrez’s 'Verdict' Wins Special Jury Prize At The Venice Film Festival


Raymund Ribay Gutierrez’s 'Verdict' Wins Special Jury Prize At The Venice Film Festival