The top-grosser of Cinemalaya 2018 is a film that refuses to stay silent. Here’s my review of Kip Oebanda’s ‘Liway’.
It’s inevitable for this film to be compared to the other Cinemalaya film that also tackles Martial Law, which is ML. The main difference of these two films is in how their message is delivered. ML warns people about the horrors of the abusive ways of the past by resorting to horror genre tropes. Liway has more of an authentic approach in terms of storytelling, as it is based on a more personal experience of searching for the nation’s freedom.
It is a story very close to the heart of director Kip Oebanda, which makes the film even more effective in delivering its message. Don’t get me wrong, both ML and Liway are great films, and are totally different from each other, with the only thing common between them is that they’re both about Martial Law; but between the two, Liway gave me the more satisfying, more enriching experience. It is a film that actually educates everyone about the truths of the aforementioned era, instead of just instilling fear in this generation’s minds.
Glaiza de Castro gave me goosebumps as Liway. She has a commanding presence on screen, tough when need be, but delicate in her most fragile moments. Dominic Roco‘s performance felt a bit out of touch compared to the rest of the cast, but he was alright. Kenken Nuyad is great as Liway’s son, bearing the innocence of a child who has no idea of what’s really going on in their world.
One other thing that caught my attention was the music, featuring two of the most iconic songs from Asin: ‘Pagbabalik‘ and ‘Himig ng Pag-Ibig’, set against the scenes of oppression and abuse, which makes the film more haunting than it already is. I also discovered how pleasant Glaiza de Castro’s singing voice is, as I’ve never really heard her sing before. It adds another dimension to the film, making it feel even more personal.
Liway is not just a tribute of a son to his mother. It is an ode to everyone who chose not to stay silent, those who chose to speak up and fight back in those dark times in our history. This film deserves resounding applause, and I can’t wait for everyone else to see it.
My Rating: 9/10
Here’s the trailer for ‘Liway’: