It’s that time of the year again. Check out the new batch of movies for the 2023 Metro Manila Film Festival.
There are a few key components that make a quintessential Filipino Christmas, and a key pillar is the Metro Manila Film Festival. Every December 25 until the second week of January, a selection of Filipino movies take over cinemas nationwide. On its 49th year, the 2023 Metro Manila Film Festival takes things a bit differently by increasing this year’s movies from the typical eight to ten entries, which were chosen from 30 submissions, the highest ever in the history of the most high-profile celebration of local cinema in the country.
From comedy, drama, romance, horror, and more, this year’s selection is pretty diverse for your holiday viewing pleasure. So, if you’re looking to catch a Filipino film this Christmas, check out the ten entries of this year’s MMFF.
FAMILY OF TWO
Sharon Cuneta and Alden Richards team up for this mother-son film about navigating life’s contours while embarking on your own journeys. This Nuel Naval-directed project sounds like a tearjerker on the undeniably special bond between a mother and her son.
How far are you willing to go to start a family? That’s the premise of this horror movie starring Derek Ramsay and Beauty Gonzalez (and Zeinab Harake in her debut acting role). They play a couple who has difficulty conceiving a child. That is until an orphan named Jade shows up at their front door, and they take her in. But while it seems like the couple now has a child to call their own, Jade soon proves that her presence in their life is anything but positive. Lowley, the trailer is giving Orphan meets Hereditary, and we’re kinda here for it.
Pedro Penduko, one of komiks’ most famous characters, makes his return to Filipino screens, this time with Matteo Guidicelli bringing to life the hero. This iteration of Francisco Conching’s works finds the titular character joining a secretive organization as he discovers his true nature and uses his powers to protect the world from dark monsters.
DongYan movie reunion? That’s what you’re getting in this drama meets magical realism from director Mae Cruz-Alviar. For their first movie in more than a decade, Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes are back on the big screen as they play a married couple whose marriage is on the verge of collapse. But after a shocking death, the two are given the chance to rewind time and make things right.
BECKY & BADETTE
What do you call a joint comedic slay? This comedy film from Jun Lana starring Pokwang and Eugene Domingo, that’s what. It’s about two best friends who become famous after a video of them at their high school reunion goes viral.
BROKEN HEARTS TRIP
Christian Bables leads this LGBTQIA+ comedy depicted as a travel show. It centers on a group of brokenhearted gays as they travel to different tourist spots around the country and heal their broken hearts. Oh, and there’s also the tiny detail that if the contestants do not fall in love during the duration of the show, they get one million pesos.
Maria Clara at Ibarra director Zig Dulay returns to the big screen in this heartwarming film billed as GMA’s biggest movie of the year.
Historical dramas have been known to do well at MMFF. This big-screen retelling of Jose Burgos, Jacinto Zamora, and Mariano Gomez, the three priests who were famously executed by the Spanish for their beliefs, is hoping to do the same. At the very least, it’s nice to see the local canon of historical dramas get another addition, this time through the lens of Pepe Diokno.
In this horror film based on real events, Piolo Pascual plays three different characters across three different periods. Most notably, he takes on Father Severino Mallari, reportedly the country’s first serial killer, whose dark deeds leave a stain on his bloodline for generations. If that’s not enough to get you hyped, the movie will also be the first local production distributed by Warner Brothers Philippines.
WHEN I MET YOU IN TOKYO
This love story set in Japan sees the long-awaited reunion of Star for All Seasons Vilma Santos and The King of Philippine Drama Christopher de Leon. They play two people with widely different ideas of love who cross paths and find that there might be something worth cherishing after all. This also marks the first time Darren Espanto and Cassy Legaspi will appear in a movie together.
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