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Dinig Sana Kita (If I Knew What You Said)

First of all, hooray for Cinemalaya.

Okay, I shall divide this review into Boos and Bravos.

  • Boo for the cutting. There are a lot of unnecessary cuts. There are cuts when even a single shot would work. But that's all up to the director, so you can't really blame him.
  • Do not use an iPod when you won't even reveal the music. And that is my problem with the music laws in general. The independent filmmakers are held back because they cannot use pop music in their films. If you use a famous song, you pay. And most of the time, the famous songs are the ones that capture the emotion that you want to convey. So because of these copyright laws, we are deprived of good music in our independent films.
  • They didn't have to divide the film between the two main characters. What they did was they named the first part "Niña" because it was supposed to be about the girl; and they named the second part "Kiko" because it apparently focused on the guy. But all that was unnecessary, as it was one long narrative anyway.
  • Must remember to watch foreign films then study how they pace and frame a conversation between two characters in a moving car. It didn't work in this film.
  • Although the cinematographer Albert Banzon is a friend of mine, the lighting could've used some improvement. But then again, this is an indie film, and they could have had some budget problems.

  • The actress who played Niña was really, really good. She is a really good actor, and she will hopefully get a break. And she's only sixteen.
  • The appearance of the band Sugarfree was a pleasant surprise.
  • Bravo to the Michael Jackson references. Once scene had the girl wearing a hand-drawn Michael Jackson shirt (from the album cover of Thriller), and the other scene had her band members dancing to "Beat It". This made me wonder if they shot this before or after Michael Jackson died. But knowing indie filmmaking, it would've been impossible for them to have shot this after his death. So I just thougt that it was a really great coincidence.
  • For tackling the subject matter, this film has already exceeded my expectations. Never, ever have I thought that an indie film would tackle deafness, previously considered taboo in mainstream cinema.
  • Bravo to a lot of deaf stereotypes shattered by this film. Deaf people can dance because they can feel the vibrations, and they count their steps. Tell that to anyone who thinks the deaf don't dance.
  • This film used a lot of sign language. A lot. This justified why there were two people in line behind us conversing in sign.
  • Bravo to the really talented deaf actors. I want to learn sign language. Like right now.
  • I now know how to say "Sorry" and "Friend" in sign.
  • I cried. This is officially the first indie film that made me cry.
Okay, one final lesson I learned from this film: Never, ever use the same standards when comparing a stadard A-list movie and an independent film. Indie films should be judged according to their individual merits, and not according to what they failed to achieve.

And because my friends are camwhores, we had our picture taken with the female star of the movie. She's the one who played Niña.

*pic from pinoyindiefilms.com

Dinig Sana Kita. Philippines. 2009.

Rating: Eight out of ten.


mela said...

I felt the same about some shots that I felt were unnecessary. Parang shotlist 101. Full shot, then medium, then may cut-away. Nakakadistract.

But I really loved the film. Story > Visuals pa din talaga eh. I thought the dramatic moments were executed perfectly. Umiyak ako sa Sugarfree. Ang galing ng timing nung score.

^Yes, story will always be king. I cried at the part n'ung umiyak din ang father niya hehe.

Let's go indie films!

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