MMFF New Wave 2012: Paglaya sa Tanikala (Freedom from Chains)

It is already a ritual for Filipino moviegoers to go to the nearest cinema to catch a movie included at the Metro Manila Film Festival. The line-up is comprised of mainstream films from different genres. Most of these films want to attract the younger audience. It is also a perfect opportunity to bond with the family.

Two years ago, the Metro Manila Film Festival Committee launched the ‘New Wave’ section, wherein five independent films get the chance to showcase their works a week before Christmas Day. Last year, the movie Pintakasi won the Best Indie Film Award.

Matteo Guidicelli in Paglaya sa Tanikala (Freedom from Chains)

For this year, MMFF New Wave presents five independent films from different genres. I was able to catch two yesterday: In Nomine Matris (In The Name of the Mother) by Will Fredo and Paglaya sa Tanikala (Freedom From Chains) by Michael Angelo Dagnalan. I went to Glorietta 4 after our Family lunch reunion just to watch these two films. How I wish they allot more screenings in other cinemas like what they do for the mainstream line-up.

First, let me share my thoughts on Michael Angelo Dagnalan’s Paglaya sa Tanikala (Freedom From Chains).


Here’s the synopsis:

Young Berto (Micko Laurente) is a glue-sniffing, street child that has fallen prey to human traffickers. When the street urchin meets Somascan Bro. Jerry (Matteo Guidicelli), he finds refuge in the Casa Miani orphanage. But the brotherhood of the streets compel him to follow their code.

Mr. Dagnalan is actually my mentor for Scriptwriting. I missed to watch his award-winning entry for CinemaOne Originals 2010 that’s why I really want to see this film. Paglaya sa Tanikala or Freedom from Chains is a joint project of Kuwentista Productions and Somascan Fathers Association. It is the first film that tackles the life of St. Jerome Emiliani. The project aims to remind and educate people about the works of the Italian saint, and how some of his doings reflect the current situation of street children scattered within the Metro.


Paglaya sa Tanikala official movie poster

Kapamilya actor Matteo Guidicelli portrays a dual role: one as St. Jerome Emiliani (16th Century) and the other as the helpful Somascan Bro. Jerry (current). Child actor Micko Laurente plays the role of Berto, a hard-headed streetkid who steals items in exchange of solvent. It is the sad reality among street children nowadays. They need all the help they can get.

It is refreshing to watch such film nowadays. Admit it, most of the indie films produced lately cater the mature audience only. Paglaya sa Tanikala is a type of film that can be shown in schools, where kids and adults can watch and hopefully adapt the good lessons from it. Imagine watching a movie version of an education film. I felt like an elementary student appreciating the works of an Italian saint while realizing that such legacy still lives up to this day. The way Bro. Jerry narrates the story of the beloved Saint with the complete timeline may either spark interest or boredom to the moviegoer, although I think most kids would appreciate it.

Berto (Micko Laurente) and Bro. Jerry (Matteo Guidicelli)

I love the flashback scenes since they were able to show the right costume and it really felt like I’m watching a historical show. I also have to admit that I had doubts when they hired Matteo Guidicelli for this film. Now that I know that St. Jerome Emiliani is Italian, I can say that Matteo perfectly fits the role. The flashback scenes required him to speak in Italian and if I am not mistaken, this film will also be shown in Italy and other European countries. He is blessed that he gets to play such character for his first indie film venture.

Micko Laurente, the child actor playing the role of Berto is really the star of this film. He was able to portray his role well. I am really sensitive when it comes to drug-related issues and seeing someone being drug dependent at such an early age breaks my heart. For a drug addict to change, he must also be showered with love and moral support.

Kudos also to the supporting actors especially Nicco Manalo (as Nardo). He is an effective antagonist. If only I can slap him! LOL

I enjoyed watching the film while realizing that good people stil exists nowadays. I am hoping that Direk Mike and the rest of the crew will be able to tour in several schools and let elementary students watch this film. Actually, the movie can pass in the mainstream criteria. I think the concept of this film is better than the other kid-oriented movies included in the mainstream line-up.

Paglaya sa Tanikala (Freedom From Chains) is one of the five films competing at the 2012 Metro Manila Film Festival New Wave section.


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