There’s this Pinoy indie film that you’ve probably been hearing about since last year. It’s been quietly garnering awards left and right from different film festivals abroad as well as our very own Gawad Urian Awards. It was given a grade of “A” by the Cinema Evaluation Board and was rated “R-18” without cuts by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board. (With SM Cinemas refusing to show R-18 movies in their theaters, I’m guessing it’s probably been a while since you caught one in a movie house, right?) This movie’s release has been threatened by online piracy and has had to struggle to get cinemas to screen it for audiences.
The film I’m talking about is Jun Robles Lana’s Anino Sa Likod Ng Buwan and it’s finally enjoying limited release in certain theaters in Metro Manila as well as Davao. You’re probably wondering what the fuss is all about and if it’s even worth watching at all. Before we delve into the movie a bit more, I think it demands to be said that Anino Sa Likod Ng Buwan is unlike any movie you’ve seen before.
Anino Sa Likod Ng Buwan (or Shadow Behind the Moon as it’s being called overseas) is set in Marag Valley during an armed conflict between the Philippine army and communist insurgents in the early 90s. Caught in the middle are three people: Emma (LJ Reyes), her husband Nardo (Anthony Falcon), and the couple’s friend Joel (Luis Alandy) who also happens to be a soldier. When I say caught in the middle, I mean that in the literal sense because much of the movie happens in an old and rundown shack right smack in the middle of what is known to be “no man’s land”.
That’s as much as I’m going to tell you about the plot of the movie because a big chunk of the satisfaction audiences will get when watching it is finally figuring out what it’s all about. I spent the first 30 to 45 minutes of the movie wondering what I had gotten myself into as I listened to the actors philosophize about war, morality, and love. But I watched the rest of the movie in awe and found myself applauding with the rest of the audience when it was finished.
9/10. While not a perfect movie and is probably not for all audiences, it’s uncompromising and will probably be remembered by those who saw it for a long time.