Will mainstream audiences embrace ‘Aparisyon’?

Aparisyon movie poster

I met Darlene Malimas early last year when she lent me a copy of Vince Sandoval’s earlier film, Señorita, for Sine Bahaghari. That time, she already told me of the preparations for what eventually will become Aparisyon.

Months later, Darlene invited me to a test screening of the film. Even watching the earlier cut of the film, I knew I was seeing something special.

It was watching something different unfold in a Filipino movie. It was a quiet, intense work that was emotionally riveting. I was fascinated and affected. The small group in that test screening gave some critique, suggestions on a few minor changes that still can be done to improve the film. But really, even then, we all know this film will be making waves.

(And this is the reason my name appears in the credits. I haven’t seen that myself; a friend who also saw the film in Cinemalaya told me.)

After Cinemalaya, Aparisyon garnered praise from local and international critics. I’m so happy every time I hear the movie win another award and yet I’m hardly surprised. After all, great work will always speak for itself.

But the true test for Aparisyon will be how the mainstream audience will appreciate it. It’s different from most commercial movies. There are no impossibly glamorous characters, no rags-to-riches story, no histrionic confrontation scenes.

But I’d like to trust the Filipino audience. They are not the unthinking masses mainstream producers think they are, happy to receive whatever trash was released by the mainstream film industry.

There had been several small movies that were embraced by the mainstream audience before, proving that good independent film-making still has a place in commercial theaters. I really hope Aparisyon will be included among them.