Liway

Last night's screening of Liway was one of the best screenings I've ever been to in my life: supercharged, extremely emotional, angry, celebratory. It's definitely the only film I've been to that ended with a mini-rally. At this point I don't think I can even judge this film objectively, as the experience of watching it is so intertwined with the film itself.

The Martial Law Era is something that will always be a trigger for me, and I remember being overcome with emotion only five minutes into the movie during a random conversation between characters. This emotional rollercoaster continues on for the next two hours or so, as it becomes obvious that this comes from a very personal place for director Kip Oebanda. You can almost smell the prison where most of the film is set, and during rally speeches I found myself clapping along because I was so immersed in the film.

The performances are superb, turning small roles into people you feel you know. Soliman Cruz gives what should be an award-winning performance as the sympathetic warden. Ebong Joson plays the "villain" hardly like the villain at all, and that makes him so frighteningly real. The number of scenes Sue Prado is in can be counted with one hand, but she is a juggernaut in each and every one of them. Joel Saracho plays a loyalist criminal prisoner (a super stretch for Joel, haha) that you can't help but love. Kenken Nuyad as Dakip is the heart of this movie, and he takes the film from good to great.

And then there is Glaiza. I don't think I can ever express how proud I am of the woman Glaiza has become. She is one of the greatest actresses of her generation and a consummate artist; and I'm happy that despite her fame her heart is always about the art, her feet are still firmly on the ground, and that we still get to laugh about Skrillex.

You have to see this film, because it provides all the heart the ongoing debate about the Martial Law era has been lacking of late. I jumped through loops to get tickets to the gala because I felt this was going to be a moment, and that the film was going to be important. I was right.

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