The Philippines, 2019, 83’, Tagalog, English
Directed by: Thop Nazareno
Script: John Bedia, Thop Nazareno, Denise O’Hara
Photography (color): Kara Moreno
Editing: Thop Nazareno, Joyce Bernal, JR Cabrera
Art Direction: Alvin Francisco
Music: Pepe Manikan
Producers: Joyce Bernal, Vic del Rosario, Sarah Pagcaliwagan-Brakensiek, Ferdinand Lapuz
Cast: Louise Abuel (Edward), Dido de la Paz (Mario, the father), Ella Cruz (Agnes), Elijah Canlas (Renz)
Date of First Release in Territory: October 2nd, 2019
Premiere status: European Premiere
Edward is stuck in a public hospital taking care of his ailing father. As the weeks pass, boredom set in and Edward uses the hospital ward as his own playground, unmindful of the hopelessness that surrounds him. Both estranged to his father and to his half-brother, Edward would rather roam around and cause ruckus with his friend Renz than be still and take care of his sick father and his family.
Left on his own, Edward chooses to play around rather than face the reality of the nearing mortality of his father and the bleakness of the situation...
After the success of Kiko Boxer (Kiko Boksingero) at Cinemalaya in 2018, one would think that director Thop (Christopher) Nazareno would have taken on another film about a kid trying to make his way in sports or something of the kind. However, his Edward is a fairly new exploration of the personality of an adolescent’s coming of age. Edward (played by Louise Abuel) has to stay in a hospital to take care of his ailing father (Dido de la Paz). But time goes on, and Edward is getting bored, waiting and waiting forever. So, from a distant relationship between father and son, the film progressively switches to a relation between the boy and the hospital itself, then between the boy and Agnes (Ella Cruz), a girl he meets by chance, and fancies a lot.
His careless attitude at first is not exactly what we expect from someone in a hospital, but then his “happiness” with the girl is short lived, since she disappears without notice.
Director Trop Nazareno proceeds by light touches, and succeeds in raising our interest for a story and characters that one would find bland at first. He never tries to shift to some kind of horror film (as some other directors would have done), but only explores the real atmosphere of a public hospital in the Philippines, with overcrowded space and little privacy. Louise Abuel is a sensible Edward, and veteran actor Dido de la Paz (seen in several other films recently, including the librarian in Respeto) gives a real humanity to the ailing father character. All in all, an original film that has some kind of haunting quality, and Thop Nazareno is a name we should follow in the Cinemalaya breed.
Thop Nazareno (b. 1985, Quezon City, Metro Manila) started his filmmaking as a director with his short films, and was recognized by different award-giving bodies, and international film festivals. His first feature film was Kiko Boxer (Kiko Boksingero) in 2017, first shown at the Cinemalaya independent film festival, where it received three awards (Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Original Music). His second feature film, Edward, was in competition at Cinemalaya 2019, where it won three awards: Special Jury Prize, Best Supporting Actress (Ella Cruz), and Best Production Design for Alvin Francisco. He is now preparing Boys Don’t Cry, for IWant TV.
2017 – Kiko Boxer
2019 – Edward