OVER the quarantine, several local film outfits like TBA Studios and Cinema One have generously uploaded full versions of their films on YouTube — and yes, they are absolutely free to watch!
A lot of these films are not the commercial blockbusters top-billed by mainstream actors that we’re used to seeing. These are small-budget, independent masterpieces that don’t often get wide releases or, at least, not an extended one. Having them available on a platform like YouTube gives these the audience they deserve, which is why we should watch these underrated gems while we still can.
Here are five proudly Filipino films you can watch on YouTube for free right now:
“Shift” | Director: Siege Ledesma
Marking singer Yeng Constantino’s film debut, “Shift” follows Constantino as Estela, a tomboy call center agent who develops feelings for her gay supervisor Trevor, played by Felix Roco. “Shift” was awarded Best Picture during the 9th Osaka Film Festival in 2014.
“Smaller and Smaller Circles” | Director: Raya Martin
Based on the 2002 novel of the same name by F. H. Batacan, the mystery drama follows two Jesuit priests who take justice into their own hands by investigating the mysterious deaths of young boys from the slums of Payatas, while navigating deep-seated corruption in the government, church and the rich.
“Neomanila” | Director: Mikhail Red
In this neo-noir thriller set in modern Manila, Eula Valdez plays Irma, a skilled hitwoman who takes in a young orphan named Toto under her wing and trains him to be an assassin after she rescues the child from being hunted down by mobsters and dirty cops.
“Bliss” | Director: Jerrold Tarog
Iza Calzado plays an ambitious actress who is left disabled after a freak accident. While recuperating under the care of her husband (played by TJ Trinidad) and a seemingly peculiar nurse, Jane starts to question her sanity as she encounters strange hallucinations and horrific visions in her own home.
“Blue Bustamante” | Director: Miko Livelo
Aspiring for greener pastures, George Bustamante (played by Joem Bascon) flies to 1990s Japan for a job as an engineer, but ends up becoming a stunt double for a children’s TV show called “Force Five.” Aside from being endearingly quirky and nostalgic, the movie also sheds light on the lives of overseas Filipino workers.