“What will a man do to save his family? You don’t want to know.”
Most of us trust religion as source of answers to our questions. Our faith dictates us that God is the key to achieve success or surpass complexities in our lives. We consider spiritual leaders as messengers of the Heaven and it is just to contribute money for the church’s “expansion”. Religion makes everyone believe that God will provide even in the midst of our hardest life struggles – but not for Edgar (John Lloyd Cruz).
He is not a firm believer of their religious group, the Church of Yeshua, as oppose to his wife Kaye (Meryll Soriano) who works as an agent for his father’s investment scheme business. Everything was in order for Edgar’s family until they face the most difficult, life-changing challenge that even the sect where they belong was not able to help them. Edgar needs to save Kaye and his only daughter Angel (Krystal Brimner) from this family crisis at all cost, even if it means danger and denunciation from their so-called faith.
Erik Matti’s “Honor Thy Father” (also known as Con-Man) is a fresh entry to the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) which has been dominated by comedy and horror films for over two decades. Following the success of his critically-acclaimed “On the Job” in 2013, Matti, along with writer Michiko Yamamoto crafted another masterpiece that elaborates the most critical issues today. The move by its studio (Reality Entertainment) and producers (Matti, Dondon Monteverde and Cruz) to screen a film that shows religion’s influence in the society during a religion-motivated holiday like Christmas was definitely courageous. However, the movie does not fail to relay a bold message that’s fit for the season – love for family. Camera angles are more into slow smooth panning shots and striking landscapes than shaky movements, manifesting calm aura in the midst of intense and nerve-racking scenes. The cinematography and lighting make us all feel the real ambiance of the Mountain Province and support the mood of every scene and emotions.
Cruz, a first-timer in producing movies, in joining MMFF and in portraying a role of a father, is undoubtedly marvelous. His stint in this year’s film fest signals a new and exciting era in his career as an artist. Soriano’s impressive performance elevates her to another notch-up of acting excellence. We can actually call her the Philippine independent cinema’s “diamond star”, a moniker adorned to her aunt, actress Maricel Soriano. In addition, portrayals of supporting cast, specifically veteran actors Tirso Cruz III (Bishop Tony) and William Martinez (Pastor Obet) as church leaders are significant and indeed commendable.
As of this writing, festival organizers disqualified “Honor Thy Father” for Best Picture and some malls are starting to pull it out in their theaters. For a movie that is timely, realistic and can give a sensible Christmas viewing experience, it is unfair for “Honor Thy Father” to seize its chance to make this generation’s filmmakers, film outfits and moviegoers realize that it’s time to revive the very purpose of MMFF’s creation: to showcase local cinema’s ingenuity in presenting the reality around our country.
Title: HONOR THY FATHER
Date of Release: DECEMBER 25, 2015
Official Entry to the 41ST METRO MANILA FILM FESTIVAL
Studio: REALITY ENTERTAINMENT
Director: ERIK MATTI
Screenplay: MICHIKO YAMAMOTO
Story: ERIK MATTI and MICHIKO YAMAMOTO
Executive Producers: DONDON MONTEVERDE, ERIK MATTI and JOHN LLOYD CRUZ
EDGAR – JOHN LLOYD CRUZ
KAYE – MERYLL SORIANO
ANGEL – KRYSTAL BRIMNER
BISHOP TONY – TIRSO CRUZ III
PASTOR OBET – WILLIAM MARTINEZ
NANANG – PERLA BAUTISTA
LANDER VERA PEREZ