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Filipino films ‘Cleaners,’ ‘Bold Eagle,’ ‘Hito’ among Criterion Channel’s May 2024 lineup

Filipino films ‘Cleaners,’ ‘Bold Eagle,’ ‘Hito’ among Criterion Channel’s May 2024 lineup

Over a dozen selections of contemporary Filipino films make their way to the independent streaming service and cinephiles’ paradise the Criterion Channel this May.

Programmed by Filipino-American filmmaker and film critic A.E. Hunt, the May 2024 lineup includes “pathbreaking independent work from the Philippines” alongside a survey of Asian American personal documentary filmmaking, the best movies of 1999, a late-career trilogy from Japanese director Nobuhiko Obayashi, and rediscovered masterpieces by German director Michael Roemer.

Evolved from a film program called “When the Apocalypse is Over” by Hunt, the selection features full-length films “Fisting: Never Tear Us Apart” (Dir. Whammy Alcazaren, 2018), “Cleaners” (Dir. Glenn Barit, 2019), and “For My Alien Friend” (Dir. Jet Leyco, 2019), as well as 10 short films:

  • “OctoGod” (Dir. Shievar Olegario, 2019)
  • “Dikit” (Dir. Gabriela Serrano, 2021)
  • “i get so sad sometimes” (Dir. Trishtan Perez, 2021)
  • “It’s Raining Frogs Outside” (Dir. Maria Estela Paiso, 2021)
  • “Somewhere a Destination” (Dir. Celeste Lapida, 2021)
  • “Bold Eagle” (Dir. Whammy Alcazaren, 2022)
  • “The Gossips of Cicadidae” (Dir. Vahn Pascual, 2022)
  • “the river that never ends” (Dir. John Thomas Trinidad, 2022)
  • “Rocks in a Windless Wadi” (Dir. EJ Gagui, 2022)
  • “Hito” (Dir. Stephen Lopez, 2023)

“These stylistically radical, bracingly contemporary films offer new ways of seeing Philippine myths, pasts, presents, and futures,” Hunt said of the selection of Filipino films. 

The roster of Filipino films, according to the film critic, shares a common use of “innovative digital technologies, extreme color grading, and unexpected aspect ratios.”

“A new generation of young Philippine filmmakers explodes genre conventions to imagine stories of absurd, alienating worlds and lonely characters longing for something or someone outside the limited reach of the frame. Taken together, these alternate cinematic dimensions form an exciting body of work that nods to the past while feeling startlingly, ecstatically new,” he added.

A haven for film and media scholars and cinephiles, and a resource for public and academic libraries, the Criterion Channel features an eclectic mix of classic and contemporary films from around the world. A Criterion Channel subscription costs $10.99 a month or $99.99 a year. 

Along with the constantly refreshed thematic programming, subscribers to the Criterion Channel can also enjoy more than 500 shorts and 5,000 supplementary features, including trailers, introductions, behind-the-scenes documentaries, interviews, video essays, commentary tracks, and rare archival footage.

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Header photo from the Criterion Channel website


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