Directed by Jun Robles Lana, the political thriller set in Marag Valley during the 1990s chronicles the story of a couple (LJ and Anthony) and a soldier (Luis) in the middle of a town plagued with insurgency.
While Anino is quite the psychological offering, it also reeks of libido, highlighted by a 10-minute sex scene. (Between whom, you have to watch the film.) But that daring sequence isn't the only reason you should be catching it in theaters:
1) Awards speak for themselves
Anino sa Likod ng Buwan proved that Lana can effortlessly juggle his knack for commercial projects and his artistic hits. Her riveting performance also saw LJ metamorphose from a dependable supporting player to a full-fledged, award-winning actress. Most of the time, independent films unlock a thespian's potential through gritty roles that are close to the bone, another reason to watch this.
2) No need for double take
All Lana needed was three characters, two hours (film length), and a single shot to come up with this theatrical masterpiece. According to Clarence Tsui of The Hollywood Reporter, "Indeed, Lana's direction of this claustrophobic piece does bring out all the manic but panged-up energy permeating and poisoning the characters from inside out." The unconventional execution and lone setting enabled the director to draw out what he wanted from the story and allow the moviegoer to focus more on the dynamic between the characters.
3) Bwakaw and Barber's Tales
Lana has established himself as one of the country's most versatile and highly touted filmmakers, the latter thanks to his socially injected and dark-themed works like the films mentioned above. He champions independent filmmaking but is also reliable in dishing out quality commercial hits, which means viewers get to enjoy the finest of his creative sensibilities in Anino sa Likod ng Buwan.
The director even wrote on Facebook, "As a filmmaker, sometimes I feel like Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde because one side of me recognizes that I am blessed to be working in mainstream film and TV, and yet there's another side that cannot stop the urge to pursue passion projects that are so anti-commercial and risqué."
4) Predictability and the opposite
The trailer could easily elicit a handful of assumptions pertaining to the story, such as an obvious love triangle at first glance, but the setup and premise are enough to make a patron curious. As for the actors, it will be interesting to see how the toll of a one-shot feature film translates on-screen.
"What the viewers saw on the premiere night was what they got in all its bare essentials. For one, the demands of the actors were such they not only have to memorize and internalize their lines but undress and be exposed to frontal nudity in most of the sensual scenes," wrote Pablo Tariman in The Philippine Star
5) To sustain quality films
Catching Anino in your neighborhood cinema instead of watching it on illegal streaming sites will benefit future films of its kind. Online piracy actually threatened its local release and that reflects how we value quality opuses. Perhaps it is high time to level up our viewing tastes, before directors like Lana get completely discouraged in polishing such cinematic gems.