Films can take us where we’re not likely to go on our own. And sometimes that’s a blessing. Here are two quick trips to places, one we, as Americans, were once unable to visit and one we might not want to get to know very well.
3 Days In Havana – Though I’m sure some critics disagree, we are treated to clever shades of noir in this short and twisty crime film. However Havana is the star and makes this quirky, often wacky little film worthwhile. Gil Bellows directed and starred in this light-hearted, dark humored 2013 release. Most of the kudos go to the cinematographers, Doug Schwartz and Blaine Ackerly.
Metro Manila – And now for something completely different. While there is footage showing the beauty of the Philippines and while the film certainly reveals what life is like in the Philippines, Metro Manila is, like most great movies, a reflection of something universal. No matter what you believe to be right what would you do if backed into a corner and you had to feed your family? Sean Ellis, co writer (along with Frank E. Flowers) directed this 2013 film about a family no longer able to eek out a living on a farm and who believe their only hope is the big city of Manila. But the young farmer, his wife and two kids must start at the bottom of the economic ladder. They soon find themselves in a ghetto within a ghetto and scammed out of what little they have by others more desperate and certainly more seasoned than they are. To feed the children, she takes a job as a bar girl and he might have made a friend who just might guide him through the perils of metro Manila.. Are things turning around? Might the family be destined for a good life after all? Sometimes the cards are stacked against those who only want to live a good and just life. Jake Macapagal, Althea Vega and John Arcilla head a talented cast in this excellent international, award-winning film about the making of a criminal.
To accompany the double feature: One of the things Cuba and the Philippines have in common is rum. It’s summer. It’s hot. Rum and tonic and a twist of lime would work for both films. Even if you opt out of the alcohol portion of the program, think citrus. Tonic optional.