Top 3 Films to Watch at the Manila International Film Festival

Top 3 Films to Watch at the Manila International Film Festival


Make these films a part of your must-watch list for the Manila International Film Festival coming to California theaters

From January 29 to February 2, Filipinos abroad and fans of Philippine cinema in Los Angeles and Hollywood will finally get the chance to watch the ten entries of the Metro Manila Film Festival 2023. The Manila International Film Festival is bringing last year’s Christmas tradition to the Chinese 6 Theatre in Hollywood from the 29th of January to the 1st of February. Meanwhile, on their last day, they will be premiering at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles. 

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With a number of films in the lineup and only less than a week to see them, the key is to make the most of your time. For the Filipino audience, a number of them stood out for their impact on the audience, resulting in trending topics and of course, actual festival awards. Here are the top three movies that you can tick off of your MIFF watch list. 

Making history with history

Bagging the most wins of seven accolades during the Awards Night is the testament of GomBurZa’s full film force. Although its premise is the known narrative of the priests Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora, director Pepe Diokno’s take on the film humanized the martyrs. The storytelling reflected the impact of the past to the present and the future, explaining the origin of their resistance as well as its effect on the Filipinos, including our national hero, Jose Rizal. Apart from their Second Best Picture win, the motion picture also earned the Best Actor for Cedrick Juan’s performance as Jose Burgos. Their other trophies include Best Sound, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Gatpuno Antonio Villegas Cultural Award, and Best Director. 

Winning the audience in no time

Now hailed as the country’s top grossing film, Rewind reunited reel-turned-real life couple Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes on the big screen last holiday season. A touch of magic realism in a family drama, the movie won the hearts of its audience for the idea of a second chance with their loved ones. Indeed, Filipino families will shed a tear or two in Mae Cruz-Alviar’s attack on what it means to sacrifice and love for those you treasure. 

Giving a thrilling impact

Hailed as the Third Best Picture for the 2023 Metro Manila Film Festival, Mallari married horror and history on the big screen with their retelling of Juan Severino Mallari, the first Filipino serial killer. Piolo Pascual portrayed three individuals from the Mallari lineage, exhibiting his range as an actor. The movie bagged four awards including Best Musical Score, Best Visual Effects, Best Supporting Actor for JC Santos, and Third Best Picture. Establishing another  take on history, the film also tackled the union of religious practices from Filipinos of yesterday and today. If you are looking for a movie that could spark a conversation on the story’s adaptation, Mallari is definitely your best bet. 


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