Among the many excellent short films set to be showcased at the now-canceled SXSW 2020 was Dean Colin Marcial’s Reminceses of the Green Revolution, a beautiful, reflective meditation on love, youth, and death in early 2000s Philippines. The film was set to open the Narrative Shorts Program Block 1 at SXSW, and it’s certainly worth any attention that can be given to it in light of the festival’s sudden cancellation. The impact of the current pandemic on indie films, with the cancellation or postponement of festivals worldwide, has been devastating. But we are doing our best to highlight and movies that missed out on premieres worth seeing. Reminceses of the Green Revolution is one of those films.
Reminceses of the Green Revolution is a melancholy and untraditional sort of ghost story. It follows a group of young revolutionaries during the 2001 Second EDSA Revolution in the Philippines. Emboldened by the ouster of President Joseph Estrada, young people across the countries began leading protests and activism movements in an attempt to inspire progressive change. The film follows a group of men and women with a mind toward environmental defense. We are introduced to them through a series of beautiful unbroken handheld shots following the members through the home where they’re headquartered, narrated by a member of their group who we quickly learn has died. He is reviewing his last day on earth over and over to work out the details.
“…a beautiful, reflective meditation on love, youth, and death in early 2000s Philippines.”
The supernatural angle of Remninces of the Green Revolution is subtle and not the main focus. Instead, the reflections of the dead narrator offer an emotionally compelling window into ideas of memory, love, relationships, and youthful dreams. By focusing primarily on the bonds among these young revolutionaries, Reminisces of the Green Revolution is a moving meditation on human connection and memory in extraordinary political circumstances.
The performances from the cast of young Filipino actors are stunning. Annicka Dolonius is particularly good as the group’s most ambitious member, Adrienne, who prefers English over Tagalog and can’t seem to shake her outsider status. She wears so many emotions on her face in every moment while still existing in the world of the film with naturalism. Madeliene Humpheries is excellent as Emilia, who feels lost in her conflicting emotions. And Abner Delina is great as Martin, the narrator, who exists as a living being and an observing ghost throughout the events of the film.
Dean Colin Marcial’s script exudes quiet grief hidden beneath a facade of ordinary interactions, and his cinematography breaths with life. The sudden conclusion leaves one facing the brief and unexpected ways mortality can interrupt youth, and it’s powerful. Keep an eye out for Reminceses of the Green Revolution wherever it may appear next, and give it support at any film festivals that may resume after all the madness clears.
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