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The Cinemalaya 2012 Box Office Hit, Bwakaw, after gaining lots of praises and good words from the Cinemalaya Film Festival audience, and after all the requests to have it shown longer, will finally be released in Philippine theaters on September 5.

At last, more Filipinos would be able to watch the film and find out for themselves why this Cinemalaya film raked awards during the festival, including Audience Choice, NETPAC Best Film, and Best Actor Award for the 83-year old industry icon, Eddie Garcia. This Jun Lana-directed drama-comedy has also made its international premiere at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival under the Contemporary World Cinema section, and was also the country’s official selection for the 2012 New York International Film Festival. The film, btw, is produced by APT Entertainment and October Train Films, and was distributed by Star Cinema.

I was fortunate enough to be invited on its Red Carpet Premiere at the Cinema 6 of SM Megamall last August 30, and lots of celebrities were also there to support the film such as JC De Vera, Derrick Monasterio, Kristoffer Martin, and even the TV5’s Artista Academy aspirants, along with directors Mac Alejandre and Louie Ignacio.

Of course, the cast and the director were there, such as veteran actors and actresses Rez Cortez, Bibeth Orteza, Allan Paule, Beverly Salviejo, Soxie Topacio, Gardo Versoza and Armida Siguion-Reyna. The cute dog, Princess, who played the title role, was also inside the theater! Cool, right? Unhappily, its lead star Eddie Garcia wasn’t able to grace the event as he was sick that night.

Anyway, Bwakaw is such a nice film. It’s about a grumpy old man, Rene, who has accepted his sexuality when he was already 60. Bad-tempered but good-hearted, Rene faces his last years full of regret for having spent nearly his whole life denying he was gay. His only family left is a dog named Bwakaw, who comes with him wherever he goes.

He lives alone in an old house and he also continues to work even if he’s already a retiree and even if he’s no longer being paid. He just doesn’t want to stay bored at home. He eventually finds a surprising affection to his then-enemy tricycle driver, Sol (played by Rez Cortez), when his dog Bwakaw was required to pay a regular visit to the veterinarian. This changed his usual mood and made him more open to a happier environment.

There are lots of funny scenes but I guess everyone’s favorite was the one where he fell asleep on the coffin he ordered, in preparation of his death, and his neighbors saw him on it. His neighbors went crying and he suddenly woke up, scaring his neighbors instead. Total classic yet still a funny scene!

All the actors were naturally great performers; they all portrayed their roles very well. Eddie Garcia, especially, is unquestionably brilliant as always. The supporting actors were of great help in making this film a masterpiece. The cute dog, Princess aka Bwakaw, is such a talented dog – her scenes are moving, yes, believe me! She was able to make the audience feel sad with her condition.

The film teaches the value of life, on how and why a person should appreciate life, and practice living it fully. It reminds us that even how tough life’s situations may be, we should always stay positive and keep our eyes on the brighter side.

I hope people don’t overlook at this kind of film. It is definitely way better than other films which are released commercially. This will surely be loved not just by the growing population of dog-lovers in the country, but by everyone who values life. Story-wise, script-wise, and acting-wise, this truly deserves the people’s attention. This is a film worth paying for.

 Enjoy the trailer!


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