Filipino film about greed grabs BIFF top prize
Neither mixed reviews nor strong competition was able to steal the thunder from Philippine entry “Nino,” which tied with Iran’s “Mourning” in winning the New Currents award during the closing ceremony of the 16th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) last Oct. 14.
Held at the BIFF Theater inside the newly constructed Busan Cinema Center, each of directors Loy Arcenas (‘Nino”) and Morteza Farshbaf (“Mourning”) received a purse of $30,000 (about P1.29 M) for being the best among 11 other films from 13 countries. According to BIFF, the New Current award is given to “up-and-coming directors who will surely take the lead in the Asian and the global industries in the future.”
“Nino” is about a family whose members look out for their own interests under threat of homelessness. All are at each other’s throats, either openly or slyly, except for the young boy Nino (Jhiz Deocareza), who is as oblivious to the rigamarole as the beautiful arias that Celia (Fides Cuyugan-Asensio) performs regularly at home.
Early this week, Maggie Lee of The Hollywood Reporter wrote a review of “Nino,” which read in part that the film’s “strong cast [is] overshadowed by stilted, over-the-top melodrama.” Though she described Arcenas’ directorial skill as “steady,” Lee also wrote that “there’s just nothing to startle or deeply impress, so it may have a hard time meeting the taste of art house audiences as well as the rigorous commercial standards.”