The Pinoy indie film industry seems to be hitting a new target hit with Agot Isidro and TJ Trinidad's "Mga Anino ng Kahapon (Shadows of the Past)."  The film is one of the finalists to the 2013 Metro Manila Film Festival's New Wave Category and will be shown from December 18-24, 2013 in Glorietta 4 and SM Megamall cinemas.

The film is a documentary of sorts which highlights common misconceptions about Schizophrenia, a disease were those affected will usually hallucinate and have delusions.  The film is co-produced by Janssen, a division of Johnson & Johnson and aims to raise public awareness on the sickness. 

Written and directed by Alvin Yapan, "Mga Anino ng Kahapon" is the first full length independeo chant feature that aims to challenge the common steoreotypes associated with mental conditions, particularly, schizophrenia, in the Philippines - and how patients and their families live with it, managing the disease on a day-to-day basis.

The story also in a way raises a perspective on a cultural and national level of schizophrenia, one in which most Filipinos are affected.  A recent survey which notes that former President Marcos is the best choice for president if he is still alive despite his tremendous human rights violation is a sign that our nation is also suffering from such a disease.  The correlation between the ideological and realistic problems are well played in this film.

"The film breaks the common depiction of schizophrenia," says Yapan.  "It doesn't rely on melodrama to look for an alternative way to depict the disease, nor does it pander or sentimentalize the challenges that a family with a schizophrenic patient goes through.  Instead, using direct and up-front approach, the film tells a story of how the process of love can bring the family together in the face of the condition."

Here is the movie review for MGA ANINO NG JAHAPON:

SUMMARY:  "Mga Anino ng Kahapon" begins with Ed (TJ Trinidad, having to leave his family to work abroad as a caregiver because his wife Irene's (Agot Isidro) income as a nurse is not enough to support the needs of the family.  Irene and their seven-year-old son Brian (Carl Acosta) are then left in care of Ed's mother Flor (Upeng Galang Fernandez) and the younger brother Carlo (Carlo Cruz).

With a recent burglary case tightening up security and increasing the resident's vigilance, Irene, feeling more vulnerable without Ed by her side, grows paranoid, as she begins to imagine her home being monitored by the military.  Her schizophrenia resurrects her experience during the Martial Law, leaving her in a psychotic disposition that has her family struggling to help and understand her condition and what she's going through.

STORY: 9.  I believe that the movie realistically depicts schizophrenia and the audience can feel it.  You can also hear the common notion or reaction through the audience when one sees someone with the condition.  Initial reactions would be to laugh or ride with the fantasy of the patient.  

Although, I did notice that there is one notion that the film would like to say something about but which as not given focus on the film.  There is a scene which depicts a quack doctor healing Irene's mother and for me in some way it says something about the belief on possession.  When I asked however if they want to tell everyone that demonic possession might just be a form of schizophrenia.

CHARACTER:  9.  I would say that Agot Isidro did a very good job in her acting in this movie.  You can see the schizophrenia condition in her eyes, how she talks, how she reacts and everything without the need to exaggerate things.  It seems to be all natural as if you are really watching a documentary of a real person with such a condition.  Supporting character were also very good including Carlo and Irene's mother-in-law.  TJ Trinidad in some way seems to be a little bit reserved in the acting for me but it is good enough.

COHERENCE:  10.  I would award a perfect 10 for this since the film really shows how the condition progress and it answers the basic question of why a medical intervention is needed for those experiencing schizophrenia.  I learn a lot from this film and also in some way concluded that perhaps it is better that before telling that someone is being possessed, we could also try to consult a psychiatrist because perhaps, he or she has schizophrenia.

DEPTH:  10.  The movie tells it all.  As commented by Director Alvin Yapan, "The story will make you think, 'Is schizophrenia so debilitating that it can actually destroy the love between a husband and wife?'"  Let me continue on what he said, regarding the uestion he injected, "This question puts schizophrenia right at the center of the narrative, and posses a challenge the audience to understand the condition, and what its patients and their love ones have to deal with together, through the story of Irene.  Ultimately, it's a story of hope - while there is no universal cure for schizophrenia, it's something that can be managed.  And as the family journeys together, relationships are strengthened, understanding and compassion are increased, and love for one another triumphs."

Here is a statement from Agot Isidro on why this film is a must see.

POPULARITY:  5.  Films like this with serious topic suffers from a little bit of unpopularity.  The Pinoy movie going public are used to see popular characters, foreign films, drama, and the likes.  If this movie would be given enough PR it would be patronized by at least a pair portion of Filipinos.

RECOMMENDATION:  10.  I highly recommend all of you to watch this movie.  It is not a boring movie and has a lot of educational benefit to it.  If you are thinking that you will just waste your money watching an indie film that focuses on schizophrenia then think again because it is worth every single centavo.

TOTAL RATING Mga Anino ng Kahapon:  88.33%

According to the film;s director, "Mga Anino ng Kahapon is a journey of firt, unlearning, and then learning.  BY challenging false notions head-on and exposing the true journey of a patient with schizophrenia and how it affects the family, I hope that more and more Filipinos will develop compassion and understanding, and as a result, help awareness on the condition."

"Mga Anino ng Kahapon" is competing with four other entries in the New Wave Full Length Feature Category of the 39th Metro Manila Film Festival which also includes: Dukit, Island Dreams, Maestra and Saka Saka.

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