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A Worthy Anthology
by Philbert Ortiz Dy
People tend to be dismissive about Shake Rattle and Roll. “Another one?” they ask sneeringly, before bemoaning the lack of original thought and talent present in the MMFF. And though there’s reason to bemoan the festival as a whole, it’s a bit misguided to rail against this particular series. These movies have historically featured bright talent and new ideas. The latest edition, Shake Rattle and Roll 13, happens to employ three of the best filmmakers around. And one of the episodes might be one of the best things the series has ever produced. It is, as always, uneven and a little too long, but the entire package is worth seeing.
Jerrold Tarog’s Parola is about best friends Lucy and Shane (Kathryn Bernardo and Louise de los Reyes) who go up to an abandoned lighthouse and unwittingly unleash the spirits of two rival witches. The spirits slowly take over the best friends, just as a familial conflict tears their friendship apart. Simply put, Parola is great. Aside from a couple of shaky effects (particularly one in the ending), it is as polished a piece of filmmaking as has ever been seen in the series. A fairly simple story is turned into a psychosexual exploration of adolescent friendship, enhanced by layer after layer of subtext. A fantastic performance from Kathryn Bernardo ties it all together. It might just be one of the best things that has ever come out of Shake Rattle and Roll.
As a single package, Shake Rattle and Roll 13 runs a little long. And to be honest, the unevenness can make it a bit of a struggle. But I would argue that its highs are worth sitting through the weaker moments for. Parola alone is worth the price of admission. And though the other two segments pale in comparison, they each have their own strengths. Tamawo has some of the best production work the country has to offer, and Rain Rain Go Away is pretty clever in its own right. As a whole, the movie is a pretty great showcase of local talent in almost all aspects of production. That’s worth seeing anytime.