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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Apr 6, 2023


THE SUMMER METRO-MANILA FILMFEST is starting in cinemas nationwide this Saturday, April 8, and honestly, we are afraid, we’re very afraid for all the entries because the fate of recent local films at the box office was not so encouraging. 

We are really praying hard that, at least, for this summer film festival, people would leave their homes and go to the theaters to watch some entries, even just the ones that are well made. 

The biggest problem is that the price of movie tickets has really become so prohibitive for regular wage earners. 

It’s P300 plus and if you live a hand-to-mouth existence, of course, you’d rather spend that amount to help put food on your family’s table.

And let’s face it, going to the movies has never faced that much competition than now. Before, their only rival is television, but now, online entertainment offers a lot of possible options to choose from. 

And the clincher is that the alternatives are even for free. You don’t have to pay to watch free shows on youtube with your cellphone. 

You don’t even have to dress up or use any public transport and brave traffic as you can watch right in the comfort of your very own home.

Because of social media, audiences today have developed very short attention spans. 

On Tiktok and youtube, they just watch the first few minutes and if they don’t find it interesting, then it’s so easy to turn it off and switch to some other footage or platform. 

Also, movie stars have lost their mystic. Before, they were on some sort of a pedestal, unreachable by the masa who look up to them. 

But now, they all have their own youtube channels and talk shows, even interviewing each other. 

In other words, they have now become so common, so pedestrian, so ordinary that they even fight with their bashers. They have really lost their luster.

But among the 8 filmfest entries, we have a feeling that the mostly likely topgrosser is “Here Comes the Groom”. 

It has a good chance of being numero uno at the box office since it’s a very accessible and happy, feel good comedy, in contrast to other movies we saw that are feel bad movies with characters dying. 

Take note that the summer filmfest do not have any real big box office stars like Vice Ganda or Vic Sotto. Coco Martin has an entry, “Apag”, but it’s not an action vehicle like “Ang Probinsyano” or “Batang Quiapo”. 

It is a dark, serious drama where he plays a man harboring guilt feelings after killing someone in a car accident. 

The other entries include “Unravel” (it’s like you joined a tour of Switzerland when you watch this drama shot there on location), “Yung Libro sa Napanood Ko” (this is a romance-drama partly shot in Seoul, Korea), 

“Kahit Maputi na ang Buhok Ko” (if you love the songs of Rey Valera, then don’t miss this musical), “Love You Long Time” (set in Baguio and Atok, Benguet, this is a romance about two young people who live in different timelines) 

and “Single Bells” (strictly for the fans of Alex Gonzaga and Angeline Quinto.) 

So, take your pick and choose which movies you’d want to see among the 8 entries.