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Tale of ex-Yakuza, Diana Zubiri lead Young Critics Circle awardees

Jacky Woo and Rosanna Roces in a scene from 'Haruo'.


Hot on the heels of the Urian’s recent recognition of independent films, the academe-based Young Critics Circle recently recognized its own best Filipino films for 2012. Not surprisingly, all of them are indies.

“Haruo”, a poignant tale about a Yakuza member seeking to lead a new life in Manila, took Best Film honors for the prolific director Adolfo Alix, Jr.

The YCC cited its “deft portrayal of an exile’s struggle to live an anonymous and simple life as he tries to forget his criminal past.”

The film, the second by Alix to win the YCC’s Best Film award since his “Adela” swept the awards in 2009, was one of  the entries in the indie section of last year’s Metro Manila Film Festival, where it was nominated for Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Visual Design, and Best Editing.

Starring Jacky Woo, Rosanna Roces and Roxanne Barcelo, “Haruo” won over two other films nominated in the plum category, namely “Bahay Bata”, about a day in the life of a stressed-out nurse making her rounds in an overcrowded maternity hospital, and “Señorita”, a noir thriller about a transgender woman leading a double life in a Philippine province.

Diana Zubiri as the stressed-out nurse in 'Bahay Bata'.


For her portrayal of the world-weary nurse in “Bahay Bata”, Diana Zubiri was recognized by the Film Desk of the Young Critics Circle as Best Performance by Male or Female, Adult or Child, Individual or Ensemble in Leading or Supporting Role.

The former sexy star won over fellow nominees Arthur Acuña, Fides Cuyugan Asensio and Shamaine Centenera-Buencamino for “Niño”, the entire cast of “Bisperas,” Vincent Sandoval in “Señorita” and Alfred Vargas in “Teoriya.”

“Bahay Bata” also won the Jury Prize at the Deauville Asian Film Festival in France this year.

Veteran screenwriter Rodolfo Vera snagged Best Screenplay honors for “Niño”, beating “Haruo”, “Teoriya”, “Señorita”, “Bisperas” and “Ang Sayaw Ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa”, which swept the recent Gawad Urian awards.

Besting the other aforementioned films for Best Cinematography and Visual Design is “Teoriya” for director of photography Dexter Dela Peña and production designer Paul Marquez.

“Ang Sayaw Ng Daliwang Kaliwang Paa” won Best Achievement in Sound and Aural Orchestration for both sound designer and engineer Arnold Reodica and musical scorers Christine Muyco and Jema Pamintuan.

And Charliebebs Gohetia of “Señorita” won Best Achievement in Film Editing over Aleks Castañeda of “Haruo.”

The YCC drew its selections from both regular and non-regular releases comprising the entirety of Philippine cinema output in 2011. Thirty-five films were initially long-listed by the group, which was later narrowed down to a shortlist of eight.

Among the short-listed films, only Antoinette H. Jadaone’s “Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay”, a humorous and touching fictional account of the perennial bit player, failed to get a single nomination.

The Young Critics Circle will present their awards in a 3PM ceremony on June 27 at the Jorge B. Vargas Museum in UP Diliman with noted sociologist and stage director Dr. Ricardo Abad as guest speaker.