Sunday, December 17, 2017

Movie Review: Smaller and Smaller Circles

I am writing this from memory as I have seen Smaller and Smaller Circles in a special preview last February 25, 2017 in Cinema 76. The movie is still showing in selected theatres in the metro and in one movie house in Albay. Visit the movie's Facebook Page where you will find bonus scenes, previews, trivia and more reviews by film critics and experts. Copy-paste this link and you are on your way -

As a school librarian, a member of the education sector, here are my three thoughts on the movie, plus one - a personal comment which I hope to see happening sooner or later.

Thought #1 - Sid Lucero and Nonie Buencamino deliver compelling performances as Jesuits battling forces bigger than themselves. Buencamino is very convincing as a Jesuit. Smart. Sarcastic. Unafraid. Lucero essays the role with an intrinsic wonder and curiosity. There are moments in the film where he appears to be simply an observer but his presence as friend and ally to Buencamino's character never fades.

I am still hoping he gets to play a lead role in a romcom. He is too good looking to wear that clerical collar.

Thought #2 - This movie is based on a book by FH Batacan. There is a short story version, correct me if I am wrong. I remember, vaguely though, having discussed this story in one of the reading and critiquing group I used to attend a long, long time ago. Then there came the novella published by UP Press. And then, the novel was published. And now, the movie.

This goes to show how good the story is. So, please. Go watch it while it is still being screened in select movie houses!

Thouught #3 - The movie is set in the 90s so it offers the viewer the socio-cultural and political milieu of the decade. Not so much has changed. The same questions on faith, justice and God's presence permeate and remain unanswered. Well, at least to me, since I often grapple with these universal truths. In the midst of all these questions, the movie shows the woundedness of humanity and how much in need we all are of kindness and love.

Which brings me to my plus one. There are a lot of things and themes to unpack in the movie. It is intelligently made and the production value is of quality. I hope the producers could find ways to arrange a screening of the movie to high schools both in the public and private sectors. I hope parishes and communities are able to see the movie with Filipino subtitling. I hope school libraries can acquire DVDs of the film. Why not partner with public libraries like the newly built Quezon City Public Library, or the Ortigas Foundation Library and the Ayala Museum for public screenings? Today's libraries and museums have engaging and interactive programs for the community.

Perhaps it is time to involve the library and museum sectors in the distribution of relevant Filipino movies.

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