Cinemalaya 2010: SIGWA Movie Review

I was able to catch SIGWA last Monday at the CCP for Cinemalaya 2010. It was the first movie in the festival that I get to watch. And it was awesome!

Story wise, knowing that SIGWA is competing for the (Open) Directors Showcase under the direction of award-winning director Joel Lamangan, I assumed it's going to be one of the best in this year's festival. SIGWA is also the independent movie with most number of mainstream stars. For sure, a lot of viewers would say that SIGWA is one of the movies in the festival that can easily be recommended.

Direk Joel Lamangan's SIGWA is a political indie film. With scenes back tracking early '70s, the story started when a Fil-Am named Dolly, played by Ms. Dawn Zulueta, returned to the Philippines to search for her daughter she left to an old friend during the early years of Martial Law. Her return became an instant reunion to her old friends back in the '70s when she was assigned to cover student activism in Manila as a junior correspondent of a US magazine.

StarStruck graduate Megan Young played the young Dolly. Having the same features as Ms. Dawn Zulueta, I couldn't agree more to those who picked Megan for the role. She definitely fits as young Dawn Zulueta.

In her coverage, Dolly was enlighten to the root of student activism in the country, making her decide to join the allegiance. The group is consist of young stars Marvin Agustin, Pauleen Luna, Lovi Poe, Jay Aquitania and Allen Dizon as the student activists themselves.

As the story prospers, each of them experienced how it is being tortured during the Martial Law. Dolly left for the States after being captured by the military officials. Lucky her that she's an American citizen, she get to escape the punishments intended to captured activists.

Now that Dolly returned to the Philippines, as she was reunited with old time friends, a lot of things had changed. Tirso Cruz III (played by Marvin Agustin on his younger days) is now affiliated with the Malacanang Palace. Zsa Zsa Padilla (played by Pauleen Luna before) is still within the rebel alliance. Gina Alajar (played by Lovi Poe) is now living in a simple life in the province - completely out of the active rebel community they belonged before. Jaime Pebanco (played by Jay Aquitania) is also living in a simple life but has not yet denounced his activists mindset.

The movie has a strong reality skeleton backing their roles as a concrete example of how people live in the Martial Law era and how these people changed through times. So, whatever beliefs they strongly support back then, as time passes, we could never really tell if we will still hold on to those beliefs. For 30 years, we all have reasons to change depending on the experiences that life emerged us within the past years.

SIGWA is definitely part of my top list of highly recommended indie films of this year's batch of Cinemalaya entries.

Special thanks to Gibbs Cadiz for inviting me to be part of the bloggers group to cover Cinemalaya 2010. 

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  1. congratulations to the film! i just saw it and i'm very impressed. proud to be pinoy! :D

  2. nakapanood ako dahil ni require sa amin!!...
    buti nlng, kac ang ganda2x ng movie!!...
    kya lng pinapagwa kami ng reaction paper about sa movie!!huhu!!

  3. required din sa amn for reflection paper

  4. pano nyo po irerelate yung film sa human rights? ndi ko po kc napanood ng buo eh.. i will wait for your response. thank you!

  5. tama,,kmi rin eehhhhhhhhhhhh..pinagawa kmi ng reflection paper..