By Heinrich Domingo
To speak of a film’s greatness is to look if it can move and influence people. With its stunning cinematography, brilliant screenplay, and outstanding directing, Anino sa Likod ng Buwan is one of Philippines’ best. It changes perspective, inspires the audience, and redefines cinema.
In a far flung barrio, soldiers safeguard the people against the communist rebels. One officer, Joel (played by Luis Alandy), developed friendship with a young couple named Nardo (Anthony Falcon) and Emma (LJ Reyes). While Joel visits the two in their humble nipa hut house, they engage in a lengthy conversation covering multitudes of topics such as political ideology, daily living and even the size of manhood. As the meeting continues, the plot gradually reveals the complex lives of not only the three characters but of the people who lived during their time.
Brilliance in screenplay roots in the political environment of the characters. The desperate need of freedom and the inevitable uprising of the people create a constant conflict in the story. In a time where the country is at its knees because of a dictator, no citizen from any socio-economic class is spared. The most devastated are the activists who chose to continue their fight in the form of armed struggle. All these are translated into poetic lines of the personas. Joel, Nardo, and Emma gave life to all the dead ones because of others’ greed for power.
The production team is commendable for their attention to details. From scene framing to a single teardrop flowing on an actress’ cheeks, all are part of the grand narrative. Anino sa Likod ng Buwan is an epitome of a flawless movie that can surely withstand challenge of time.
Alandy, Falcon, and Reyes largely helped in pulling off a seemingly too intricate plot. They were bold for exceeding what are expected from them and proving that they can give more than beautiful faces. Their performance can of course be attributed to Director Jun Lana who has proven to bring out the best of his cast. This film will surely add to Lana’s record of beautifully created films including Bwakaw (2012) and Barber’s Tales (2013).
Above all its outstanding feat, this film will be best remembered for being a visual perfection. It altered the notion that good cinematography is about crisp images and flamboyant colors. Anino sa Likod ng Buwan is a black and white movie with grainy quality that might initially intimidate viewers. But as the plot unravels, moviegoers begin to see the well-choreographed characters movement, meaningful camera shots, and complementing lighting. It is a masterpiece with complete package of superb cast, storyline, and audio and visuals.
Philippines have many great storytellers in cinema. Most of them bank on the cultural richness of our nation. But it is seldom to see Filipino films bearing worth-listening stories with technically outstanding presentation. And the film belongs to the latter.