By Brontë H. Lacsamana, Reporter
About Us But Not About Us
Directed by Jun Robles Lana
MTRCB Rating: R13
It’s exciting to witness a Filipino film pulling off the challenge of having a few characters in a single location immersed in deep conversation. Given this minimalistic approach, the fact that About Us But Not About Us is able to keep you on the edge of your seat is a feat.
But the plot is a different story. It follows a literature professor and his student who meet at a restaurant for lunch. At first, it seems like the two men engaging in what looks like a controversial teacher-student relationship is already a juicy situation on its own. We eventually learn that that barely scratches the surface.
Things take darker and darker turns when the two characters continue speaking, about a person close to them who committed suicide, and later about secrets that they’re only now admitting to each other. This entire tense exchange takes place over the course of their meal.
Romnick Sarmenta (who won best actor at the MMFF Awards Night for playing Eric, the professor) and Elijah Canlas (who won a special jury prize for his role as Lance, the student) are understandably the stars of the show. They bring to life not just their own characters, but even the third character involved in their story who is not present. They throw sharp verbal blows at each other, and we, the captive audience, fully feel the impact.
Director Jun Robles Lana, already well-respected and acclaimed in the local movie industry for films like Barbers’ Tales and Big Night! definitely took a chance and tried something new, to very strong effect.
The film is technically masterful and riveting. It dominated the 1st Summer MMFF, bringing home 10 awards including best cinematography, screenplay, production design, editing, sound, musical score, and best director for Lana.
And deservedly so — cinematographer Neil Daza adjusts the camera to reflect the shifting psyches of each…
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