8 Filipino Indie Films You Can Binge-Watch This Vacation

There are various movie sites available on the Internet and applications such as Netflix, Hulu, and Iflix that allow you to stream their own original series, television shows, and movies. However, these movie sites and streaming applications are not really home to independent films.

Dr. Jose Rizal believed that the youth is the hope of our country. Since we are into movies and series, might as well try watching indie films with great patriotic messages that would surely ignite the dying fire of our nationalism.

If you don’t have a plan for the day or if you don’t have a summer getaway, maybe you can spend your time watching Filipino independent films?

8 Filipino indie films you can binge-watch this vacation:

1. Heneral Luna

We’re surely familiar with this film by Jerrold Tarog which was released in 2015. It is a historical biopic film depicting General Antonio Luna’s leadership of the Philippine Revolutionary Army during the Philippine-American War. General Luna was one of the fiercest generals of his time, known for his admirable love and loyalty to the Philippines. One of my personal takeaway from this film was the line, “Bayan o sarili? Pumili ka!”

2. Ang Larawan

A film adaptation of the 1997 stage play, Larawan is based on the 1950 literary play, A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino by national artist, Nick Joaquin. The setting takes place in Manila before the start of World War II and centers around sisters, Candida and Paula, who were having doubts in selling their deceased father’s final masterpiece, a painting. Ang Larawan is as beautiful as the timeless message it wants to relay to its audience.

3. Sunday Beauty Queen

A 2016 documentary film about domestic workers in Hong Kong, Sunday Beauty Queen is not only about OFWs enjoying beauty pageants, as it also serves as a distraction from homesickness and hard labor. There are thousands of domestic helpers that all have a story to share and this documentary takes a different approach to the storytelling.

4. Ma Rosa

Poverty has always been an issue in our society. There are numerous solutions that have been made; charitable institutions you can seek for help. But the problem with poverty is deeper than what we assume it to be. Impoverished people do strive hard to make a living. There’s a Filipino saying, “kapit sa patalim,” which means when you are desperate to survive, you do all sort of things. Rosa and Nestor survived by selling narcotics. Ma Rosa shows the reality of being poor in a country like the Philippines, and it gives hope that you can still get out of the “kapit patalim” lifestyle.

5. Liway

Our government is far from perfect. Each and every one of our presidents faced tough challenges and created mistakes, some that left scars that would never heal. Infamous of these scars were the Martial Law, imposed by President Marcos which resulted in 14 years of tragedy for those who decided to fight and stand up against the government. Justice is still not served–most of us are fighting up to this day, through rallies, articles, and movies. Those oppressors need to listen to the cries of their victims and be called out. Liway is another film that wants us to be aware of this 14-year tragedy, the younger generation who are lucky enough to not experience any of it. It is a reminder of the family members and friends that suffered before. So for those who are still blinded, maybe the story of Dakip, of Liway, will enlighten you.

6. Patay Na Si Hesus

When Iyay, a single mother, learns that her estranged husband has died, she drags the entire family on a road trip from Cebu to Dumaguete to attend the funeral. With her children – Hubert, who has Down Syndrome; Jude, a lovesick transman; Jay, who is living the bum life – as her passengers, Iyay drives her tiny multi-cab on a journey that yields unexpected stopovers, detours, and revelations.

7. Ang Kwento Nating Dalawa

As clouds begin to roll, we see the afternoon life of a busy city. Cars jam the streets, as people make squares of the side streets they walk on. People queue in line as they try to board the city train. This is Sam’s picture of his daily route to the university. He is a young filmmaker, who in his daily commute, picks up his girlfriend Isa from the train station before heading to school together. The gloomy weather seems to be painting the day for the young couple. Problems between them hover as they both try to delay the inevitable — ISA is about to leave for the States after graduation, while SAM has a fellowship offer from one of the leading film schools in the world. The air between them is rife with doubts, fear and their unspoken dilemma looms on the horizon. Should Sam and Isa stay, or should they just let go?

8. Respeto

Hendrix dreams of hip-hop greatness, but he’s spiraling down a rabbit-hole of crime and poverty until he meets Doc, an old poet still haunted by his martial law past. Can they turn each other’s lives around before they’re swallowed by their circumstance? RESPETO is a celebration of the underground Pinoy hip-hop world and how we find the words to find ourselves

Cinema ’76 Film Society also holds special screenings for Independent films for an affordable price. You can check out their page for the schedules.