Who’s the Real King?

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What comes to mind when you hear the word king? A burger chain? Your bed? Your spouse or a guy from the Medieval period name Arthur?

In place in Manila called Tondo, a king or “hari” is usually thought to be the one who can generate more fears and chaos by just a mere grin. That’s why the title “Hari ng Tondo” has been a moniker that lives on for generations.

This year, award-winning film director Carlos Siguion-Reyna and his equally outstanding wife screenwriter Bibeth Orteza presents “Hari ng Tondo” as one of the official entry to the Director’s Showcase category of Cinemalaya film festival 2014 happening on August 1 to 10 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Greenbelt 3, Trinoma and Alabang Town Center.

Siguion-Reyna shares during that after a 14-year break from feature-length filmmaking, he is very grateful that he have returned with a film where he empathize with all the characters of the film. He admitted that he missed the filmmaking drug and the project has allowed him the privilege of returning to work with a great crew and cast from film, television and theatre. More importantly, Hari ng Tondo has allowed him to work with members of his family and tightened his ties with his late father to whom he dedicate his latest obra.

The film is about a grandfather on the brink of bankruptcy and brings his grandchildren back to the community that made and shaped him, only to find out the place is no longer the same.

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Ricardo Villena (Robert Arevalo) finds out he has lost his fortune, on the same day he is told his granddaughter Anna’s (Cris Villonco) wedding is not pushing through and his grandson and namesake Ricky (Rafa Siguion-Reyna) is not graduating from college—again.  Anna has caught her fiancé with another woman while Ricky just wants to sing and compose songs. Ricardo believes his grandchildren’s weaknesses to battle life’s trials is caused by their sheltered lifestyle. To remedy this, the patriarch brings them to his birthplace, Tondo, where he owns a decrepit tenement housing called “Alapaap.” Away from their Forbes Park milieu, the grandchildren meet various people who will help mold their future.

Also included in the talent-laden cast are Liza Lorena, Rez Cortez, Aiza Seguerra, Ciara Sotto, Lui Manansala, Gian Magdangal, Lorenz Martinez, Menggie Cobarrubias, Mark Tayag, and Audie Gemora.

Orteza said that the movie will show the Tondo that is now. She believes that it is no longer what it is used to be, but Manila’s erstwhile premiere district will keep going. Although the title might give viewers an impression that this could be an action film, she promised that the 91-minute feature is a family movie with a pinch to the heart and a slice of life just like the projects he has done before.

The Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival is a local film competition that showcases cinematic works from established and upcoming Filipino filmmakers.

The festival, billed Cinemalaya X this year, is currently on its tenth year and is gearing up to be bigger than ever. There are more than fifty films showing at the Cinemalaya Film Festival, with most screenings being held at the CCP. These films cover everything from documentaries, short films to full length narratives. But the festival’s highlight is the fifteen films in competition. The films in competition are divided into two categories: the Director’s Showcase (5 entries) and the New Breed category (10 entries).

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