3 Best Movies to Watch by Mailes Kanapi

Staff & contributors

Clocking in at just over four hours and shot in vivid color, Norte, the End of History stands not only as Filipino auteur Lav Diaz's best work since his earliest films, but as the easiest entry point into his unique filmography. Told on a sweeping yet intimate scale, the film has all the trademarks of Diaz's work: slow, lengthy shots; bursts of dense dialogue and philosophizing; and copious amounts of human despair and systemic corruption. As our three protagonists' souls (who rarely share the screen, if at all) are pushed to the limit after a terrible crime is committed, everything heads toward universal truths—the perseverance of love, and the inevitability of divine justice.

It can be difficult to recommend any film of this length and deliberate pace, but Norte remains a masterful example of how to use time itself to build a monumental story.

Genre: Crime, Drama

Actor: Angeli Bayani, Archie Alemania, Hazel Orencio, Kristine Kintana, Mae Paner, Mailes Kanapi, Moira Lang, Noel Sto. Domingo, Perry Dizon, Sheenly Gener, Sid Lucero, Soliman Cruz

Director: Lav Diaz

Oscar, his wife Teresa, and their young children move from the rural Philippines to the city, hoping for a better life. Immediately, they struggle to survive in the harsh and unforgiving Metro Manila. Through shaky close-ups, shifting moods, and shots of bustling streets, the film captures the poverty, violence, and desperation in the daily of the city. Actors Jake Macapagal and Althea Vega excellently portray the subtleties of constant suffering, leading the tumultuous journey through a cutthroat metropolis. As the drama shifts to a crime thriller, it never loses its footing highlighting the severe link between poverty and crime. 

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller

Actor: Althea Vega, Ana Abad-Santos, Jake Macapagal, John Arcilla, Mailes Kanapi, Reuben Uy

Director: Sean Ellis

Unlike in other films that only seem to evoke a previous era to make a target demographic feel warm and fuzzy inside, there's something vaguely artificial about Death of Nintendo's air of nostalgia—which is exactly what helps it tell its story. There isn't anything particularly novel about this movie's plot or characters, but Raya Martin's direction has us consider various themes between all the stuff you'd expect to see in a young adult movie. In moments of quiet unease that seem to punctuate every other sequence, we're drawn towards the absence of father figures, the inability of the women to get through to their sons (already embedded in patriarchal customs), and the idea that one's childhood in a Catholic country seems to be marked by physical pain. Beyond the film's feathery lighting and colorful production design, there's a surprising amount to think about.

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Actor: Agot Isidro, Jigger Sementilla, John Vincent Servilla, Kim Chloe Oquendo, Lou Veloso, Mailes Kanapi, Noel Comia Jr.

Director: Raya Martin