Following the implementation of COVID for two years, Filipino film resumed some semblance of normalcy in 2022 with the freedom to hold in-person festivals and theatrical releases.
To help you choose what to see, Cinema Escapist has put together this list of the ten best Filipino films released in 2022. We have selected films from a variety of genres, including horror, romance, comedy, and more, both independent and mainstream. Additionally, our selections tend to focus more on films that are not only enjoyable but also stand out artistically or address significant sociopolitical themes.
10. Family Matters
Of the touching drama Family Matters, the complicated intergenerational ties in a Filipino family are examined. Francisco (Noel Trinidad), the patriarch, and Eleanor, the matriarch, are at the centre of this family (Liza Lorena). Their three remaining adult children must step in to care for the elderly couple and handle family matters when one of their daughters departs for the United States in search of romance.
9. A Silent Night (Nanahimik ang Gabi)
Consider watching A Silent Night if you’re seeking for a suspenseful thriller with more mature topics (Nanahimik ang Gabi). In this film, Heaven Peralejo plays Me-ann, a sugar baby for a crooked police officer she refers to as Chiefly (Ian Veneracion). Tensions in their strained relationship start to surface when the two decide to spend a romantic weekend together in a remote villa. The couple’s holiday also takes a terrifying turn when a mysterious stranger named Soliman shows up.
8. A Tale of Filipino Violence (Isang Salaysay ng Karahasang Pilipino)
Lav Diaz is a well-known art house director from the Philippines who is noted for his extraordinarily extended films with sociopolitical themes. A Tale of Filipino Violence (Isang Salaysay ng Karahasang Pilipino), a seven-hour epic by Diaz that takes place in 1974 and depicts how the heir to a feudal estate must decide between supporting his workers and working with the Ferdinand Marcos administration during martial law, was released in 2022. Based on a short story by renowned author and Marcos-era dissident Ricky Lee, the movie examines how money, social disorder, and generational trauma have an impact on Filipino culture.
Another martial law-related movie, the documentary 11,103, has made it onto our choice of the best Filipino movies of 2022 given the political climate of the year. The film’s title refers to the number of victims who have obtained formal compensation for human rights abuses committed under the Marcos administration. It includes a long list of survivor testimonials together with hand-drawn animations.
6. 12 Weeks
A comprehensive and deeply personal examination of a woman’s hardships in patriarchal Filipino society is provided by 12 Weeks. The main character of the movie is Alice, a 40-year-old humanitarian worker who is still suffering from the effects of the ISIS conflict in Mindanao. Alice learns she is pregnant after leaving a terrible relationship. Although Alice’s initial inclination is to end the pregnancy, demands from individuals in her immediate vicinity—her ex, her mother, her female friends, etc.—make her decision more difficult.
5. When the Waves are Gone (Kapag Wala Nang Mga Alon)
Lav Diaz actually had two movies come out in 2022, and both of them are on this list. When the Waves are Gone (Kapag Wala Nang Mga Alon), which clocks in at a relatively brief 3 hours and 7 minutes (for Diaz movies, that is), stars Hermes Papauran, a police officer who suffers from moral anxiety due to his efforts on anti-drug campaigns. When Papauran takes a leave of absence due to a skin ailment, a former protege who is seeking retribution must be dealt with.
4. Blue Room
Another significant independent Filipino film from 2022 is Blue Room. A gang of wealthy teenagers who play in the indie rock band Rebel Rebel are the focus of the film. The band members are detained for drug possession following their performance at a prominent music festival. To the “Blue Room,” a unique detention facility where they can bribe their way out, as opposed to a standard jail, they are transported instead. The band members must choose between abusing their privilege and sticking to their normally progressive politics.
3. The Baseball Player
The Baseball Player, which won prizes for Best Film, Actor, Screenplay, and Editing, was the biggest winner at Cinemalaya 2022. The movie presents a human analysis of the still-going Moro Conflict in the southern Philippines through the story of a 17-year-old orphaned child soldier who dreams to play baseball.
Frequently, an outsourced content moderator in the Philippines checks and deletes inappropriate content that has been posted to the world’s most popular social media platforms. Repeated exposure to such content—suicides, pornography, terrorist attacks—may leave long-lasting psychological scars on content censors.
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1. Leonor Will Never Die (Ang Pagbabalik ng Kwago)
Leonor Will Never Die, in our opinion, will be the top Filipino film of 2022. (Ang Pagbabalik ng Kwago). This movie combines the greatest qualities of several different genres: it is creatively daring, amusing, and full of provocative insights into the human condition. It resembles the Hollywood film Everything Everywhere All at Once’s Filipino cousin in certain ways.