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With the advent of torrent-sharing websites, films became readily available to anyone in the Internet. Yet, many of the files shared online are almost always synonymous to piracy. This is simply off-putting to movie buffs who believe that artists should reap maximum profit from their works. Viddsee, an online video service company, solves this dilemma. It offers a guilt-free movie experience as it allows its users to watch short films made available in public domain. Directors and production staff submit their works in the website. This Singapore-based company currently curates films from Asia but we don’t know yet, they might expand to Europe and America in the near future.

As a start, we give you five of their Philippine-made shorts that might interest you. We are providing a link of each video. But if you wish to view more works from other countries, we suggest visiting their website and tell us submissions that we might have missed.

The Dreamweaver

This film delves into the rich culture of the T’bolis from South Cotabato, Philippines. They are popular for producing traditional clothing made from hand-woven Abaca fibers (Manila hemp) also called T’nalak. Although Philippines has various textile produced by different indigenous groups, T’nalak remains extraordinary because its design comes from the wisdom of Fudalu, the abaca hemp spirit. Women in the village wait for the god’s visit in their dreams to begin weaving clothes.  And in a village who treasures their culture and history, they wouldn’t allow anyone to smear their sacred designs.

The Dreamweaver tells the story of a young T’boli boy’s journey and his aspiration towards designing T’nalak clothes. He is simply not allowed to enter the exclusive circle of women weavers. The film weaves together issues of cultural preservation and modernity, century-old tradition and progressive principles, and cultural relativism and gender discourse. The film’s ending does not confront the audience to choose though. It merely shows a world where contradictions happen.

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4 stars

 

Nothing too Supreme

It is a 5-minute documentary detailing the views and aspirations of street artist Soika. His interview discusses public reaction on unconventional artists like him. He retells his humble beginning and how he understands the concept of art and art-making. Soika’s view on the definition of street art offers a peek on his personal life as well as the lives of others who have the same passion like him.

Spoken in his Bisaya native language, Soika’s interview is memorable because of its honesty. He connects to the audience through detailing his struggles as an artist. Yet, in the end of the film, Soika’s voice becomes not his own. He is speaking in behalf of fellow street artists. He becomes an embodiment of the unappreciated individuals who continue to offer themselves for art’s sake.

(I got this on Youtube but you can also watch it on Viddsee.)


4 stars

 

Five Thousand (Limang Libo)

Limang Libo stars one of the Philippines’ best actresses Cherry Pie Picache. With her is Paulo Rodriguez who also showed brilliance in acting. They portray two characters whose lives are intermingled by love, loss, and death. This film is representative of the beautiful Philippine independent cinema movement that wishes to alleviate poverty through celebrating it. Its dark and claustrophobic vibe puts the viewers in suffocating space that screams of third world country scenario.

If you are into melodramatic plots paired with nothing but acting prowess. This short film is for you. But more so, Limang Libo is not a cinema spectacle. It is not a propaganda used to popularize a film project. This is the reality of many poor nations. Poor people are like crabs thrown into a deep bucket. A crab has to pull down others for it to rise and a failure to do so would mean its doom.

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4 stars

 

Pepe’s Letter (Ang Sulat ni Pepe)

In spite of drama’s reign in Philippine media, comedy continues to play a big part in its cinema’s discussion of social realities. The likes of Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank, Ekstra, and Pusong Bato are popular to the viewing crowd. Pepe’s Letter does the same. It tells the story of a naive country man who tried his luck in the city jungle of Metro Manila. In an attempt to earn easy money, he “invested” in a Ponzi scheme which lost all his savings.

Central to the film is the main act who is beautifully played by Pepe Herrera. His movement, voice, and facial expression capture the funny nature of the portrayed character. This film’s message is clear and concise. It is devoid of film gimmickry. But the simplistic cinematography, natural comedy, and light acting make the film fun to watch.

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4 stars

 

TheRapist

The witty wordplay between ‘therapist’ and ‘the rapist’ says so much about this short film. When it came out in the channel, it was the most watched film for the month. Cherie Gil and Marco Morales’s acting complements the storyline. But more notable than the plot’s twist is the film’s courage to discuss the taboo topic of rape.

In a country where “offending religious feelings” are more real than sex and women’s rights, the media are compelled to lullaby the public with sweet narratives of infidelity. The alternative media (which I believe include independent cinema) has to be creative in integrating these issues in their works of art. In the case of TheRapist, the defining line between rape and consensual sex is presented vaguely allowing viewers to generate their own opinion. The struggle towards intellectual emancipation is truly difficult.

(I got this on Youtube but you can also watch it on Viddsee.)

4 stars

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