#Cinemalaya2019 Review | ‘ANi (The Harvest)’ doesn't get off the ground after a promising start


Spoiler warning: With minor plot points

All eyes are on ANi (The Harvest), the first full-length science fiction film of Cinemalaya.

During its gala premiere, novice filmmakers Kim Zuñiga and Sandro del Rosario made it clear before the audience that they have been relentless after a number of rejections. Let this review of their entry, not be perceived to crush their dreams, but rather to challenge them more to improve their craft.

ANi’s synopsis looks good on paper and has an emotional prologue. But watching the movie on its second and third act is confusing. Technically, there are transition problems in continuity. Thematically, they lose us in the messages it is trying to say. The antagonists and conflicts are not much pronounced - is it the capitalist Paros Corporation that is almost absent in the movie or the demon that pops up whenever (about only twice) someone close to the protagonist, Mithi, dies? There is no payoff because the build-up to the last act is cluttered and weak.

Too much subtlety in the movie left viewers scratching their heads. There is poor world-building and character development. There are not enough scenes to make the viewers emotionally invested in the friendship between the child protagonist and his reprogrammed Warbot. We are clueless what the fight is all about in the farmlands. It almost has zero narrative exposition to make the viewers be aware of, if not immersed into the world of ANi.

ANi selling out their gala tickets though shows there's a huge interest in science fiction films in the independent filmmaking scene, and the movie is opening new doors for genre filmmakers.

Rating: 6/10

A ticket was provided to the reviewer. ANi is part of Cinemalaya 2019, currently running until Aug. 13 in the Cultural Center of the Philippines and select cinemas.

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