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(From Philippine Daily Inquirer)
Byline: Lito B. Zulueta
THERE must be a way of restoring sanity in the Philippine Yuletide madness, and a solid way of going about it is abolishing the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). This year's festival, quite notorious for its twists and turns in a festival historically notorious for its twists and turns, should reinforce that belief.
Why should the P50 million film assistance fund from President Macapagal-Arroyo be used to support such inanities as "Alamat ng Lawin," "Agimat", "Home Alone da Riber," and "Hula Mo"? Why should the public be made to support the anomalous decision of the festival screening committee to add one more movie to the regular festival roster of six movies, and then later, add two more on a delayed-screening basis? Why did the festival jurors award the third best picture prize to a movie that was not on the original seven-film roster?
How could the festival awards organizers miss out Lualhati Bautista twice in the nomination for best story and best screenplay, while nominating Mars Ravelo-coldly dead for many, many years now-as the story man behind "Lastikman"? How could a well-intentioned but eventually outrageous movie like "Mano Po," the Tsinoy "Tanging Yaman," win against the better-crafted, sounder and more relevant "Dekada '70"?
And the ultimate question: why should Filipinos be forced to spend their hard-earned Christmas bonuses on awful movies?
The MMFF is a protectionist measure that runs against the currents of deregulation and liberalization. Definitely it has not helped the movie industry form a strong backbone, much less a solid artistic sensibility.
It is true that the competition posed …