Last Saturday I watched Once in a Blue Moon, an entry to the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), with a close friend. I read in the newspaper today that it actually won the Best Picture award. I didn't see any other MMFF entry but I'd say that I enjoyed this movie. I watched it largely because of it's marketing tag "a Palanca award winning screenplay".
Indeed, the writing was good. I really liked the transitions and the symbolism used by the writer (who incidentally won the Best Screenplay and Best Original Story awards). Joel Lamagan, who is questioning the jurors' choice for Kutob's Jose Javier Reyes to win for Best Director, did an incredible job directing this movie. I never thought that Mark Herras and Jennilyn Mercado can act that well. I was pleasantly surprised with the performance of these two as well as Dennis Trillo and Polo Ravelas. Of course, legends like Eddie Garcia, Christopher de Leon and Boots Anson Roa increased the acting credibility. This movie is indeed one of the better Filipino movies I've seen so far (but, I've only seen a few).
The story is divided between two time periods in the life of Manuel--the young Manuel (Mark Herras) and the old Manuel (Eddie Garcia). There are several other subplots in the person of Manuel's son played by Christopher de Leon and Manuel's grandson played by Dennis Trillo. The theme of second chances is threaded through the movie and the song "Blue Moon" serves as a symbol and a unifying factor for the two time periods as well as the other subplots.
I'm not so sure if men will appreciate this movie since it is quite a chick flick. Still, the film gave me a chance for a good cry.