In Focus: Liway

Liway tells the story of Inday, Ric, and Dakip, a family detained as rebels in a prison camp during Martial Law. Having been born and raised in captivity, Dakip is ignorant of life in the outside world and is constantly told of heroic tales to shield him from the harsh realities at camp. Inday and Ric make a difficult decision to secure the future of their son.

While the subject of the film is unquestionably important and relevant, the final material itself does contain a couple of issues. For one, it’s unsure whether to follow Inday or Dakip and jumps between the two, which can be jarring as their perspectives are vastly different. I’m left to ponder how distinctive the movie would have been if it solely took Dakip’s point of view and went all out with the fairytale-ish elements of the story. The plot could have also been tighter – Inday’s flashbacks could be taken out in favor of other exposition, and some spotlight could be given to underutilized side characters such as those played by Sue Prado and Joel Saracho. The end result is a narrative that feels fragmented and episodic, like a recollection of past memories that do not build on one another.

Regardless of these concerns, it’s a commendable effort from director Kip Oebanda, who has obviously put a lot of passion into this. Glaiza de Castro is also a welcome sight back in the indie scene. Still fresh in my memory is the lasting applause of the audience during Liway’s epilogue, where key revelations give the film a whole new profound meaning. It drives across how real and affecting Marcos’ dictatorship is until now while encouraging the viewer to do multiple viewings and research the actual character of Liway, which is quite an achievement in an era where some have deliberately belittled, forgotten, or at worse denied the committed atrocities.

Directed by: Kip Oebanda
Starring: Glaiza de Castro, Dominic Roco, Kenken Nuyad

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