“Good things come to those who wait,” as the popular saying goes. But I add — better things come to those who go all the way to seek! It’s about the movie Birdshot. While it’s really Respeto I have been wanting to watch all this time (and up to now I haven’t succeeded yet), I couldn’t pass up this rare chance to watch this entry of our country to the forthcoming Oscars, for Best Foreign Language Movie. In any case, the reason why I’m interested in both films is that they both have thematic connections with youth.
What an effort it was for me to catch Birdshot: I had to go all the way across three Metro Manila cities to hunt and track it down.
But it was worth it. Birdshot only confirms the greatness of Philippine cinema, with indie films consistently holding the key. It continues in the long line of superb examples such as Genghis Khan, Maynila sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag, Kisapmata, Himala, Batang West Side, Heneral Luna, among others.
The brutal backstab which Birdshot brings is tough to take, yes — but its stunning cinematography and top-notch acting more than make up for it. Its dark and heavy theme will turn some away. But it probes unflinchingly at present-day realities in our country, tempered with a tender coming-of-age story. In similar fashion, there is a brilliant flow and intersection between two parallel stories — two subjects actually of the police investigation of the plot. The final resolution is grim and horrific, yes, but still we cannot turn away our eyes.
We can expect more from director Mikhail Red (whose next film Neomanila is coming soon). And by the way: he’s merely twenty-five years old, and Birdshot is just his second movie! And funny, because while I was waiting to enter the screening room (in the producers’ office building), he came out and passed in front of me. I didn’t know him, of course, and it took the receptionist to tell me that.
For all my ignorance, I realize one thing. Maybe that’s the difference when you go for something which you know in advance, something which you have researched, something which you really are passionate about in the first place. You are fully aware, and you take the necessary steps to go for it. And for me, not even traffic or geographical distance will prevent me from going for it. It is, after all, worth the effort.
MartYM or Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB, SThD is a professor of Youth Ministry. He received his Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome.