This should be quick. There should be no argument on this.
It’s because Honor Thy Father as an art film is a no-questions-asked best picture material. It is not subtle. It is actually vulgar, artistically expressive and straight forward. It is discreetly loud. It is what society needs to see. The kind of film that you would want to witness in the big screen if you crave for films that are hashtag pinaghirapan, hashtag pinagisipan and hashtag inihanda ng mabuti. It is a masculine film with a heart.
Erik Matti demonstrated once more his wit and exceptional passion towards film making. Honor Thy Father offers respect to Philippine cinema and to Filipino movie goers who deserve well-prepared entertainment and thought-provoking cinema artistry.
John Llyod performance is superb. After learning of the awards night results and seeing how JL turned into a family centered husband and desperate father as Edgar, you might not help it. You will get utterly confused. You will keep asking yourself why the hell he didn’t win the Best Actor recognition. You will have a lot of ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ in your mind.
As usual, one of the best things I admire about Erik Matti’s work of cinematic arts hugely fall under cinematography. It’s is a huge factor. And HTF cinematography does not disappoint. Matti turned Baguio into a city of social cruelty and religious fanaticism. The color and the feels support conflict and depression while struggling with justice, peace and family salvation. Baguio with its natural ambiance that is perfect for crime themes, is an excellent venue that is not messy for a movie thriller and far from stereotypical pinoy poverty porn visuals. It is rather cultural and stirring.
In today’s generation where most audience would line up to typical romcoms and where theater managers would not hesitate to pull out obviously high quality films just for the sake of money, Honor Thy Father keeps the dignity of Philippine mainstream cinema, particularly, the becoming fully commercialized MMFF.
Gone are the days when the majority of MMFF film makers highlight social relevance and produce films that are worthy of respect, yet box office killers. Now, all you can see in every movie theater at the dawn of December 25 are same-old romcoms, poorly narrated & executed horror flicks and comedies that are just plain stupid at so many levels.
MMFF has changed. It is dying. And only masterpieces like Honor Thy Father are the ones that can only cure the festival’s pitiful reputation.