Getting into the cinema last week, I barely had sleep and was so worried I would doze off a few minutes into the Summer MMFF 2023 entry, About Us But Not About Us. The film proved me wrong. It was a total surprise how a ~90-minute film kept me glued to the big screen, eagerly anticipating what was going to happen next. Scene after scene, I was raving and applauding about the lead actors’ stellar performances in my head. Casting was just so perfect and the film heavily relied on that.

Romnick Sarmenta as Eric and Elijah Canlas as Lance

Romnick Sarmenta and Elijah Canlas couldn’t have done better. They nailed their characters and effectively gave life to Jun Robles Lana‘s brilliant script. Showcasing their excellent grasp of both Filipino and English, Romnick and Elijah were so effective that I felt like a real-life Marites eavesdropping on a really intriguing conversation. The two deserve to be in the Best Actor category.

The heightening of emotions and unfolding of events got me hooked. I was really impressed by their individual interpretations of a character other than theirs. It was truly a memorable cinematic experience, one I would love to have again when Summer MMFF 2023 opens.

About the film:

About Us But Not About Us, the psychological thriller by Jun Robles Lana that critics in Europe hailed as an ‘unexpected real-time masterpiece,’ will finally screen here in the Philippines via the Summer edition of the Metro Manila Film Festival this April 8.   Featuring brilliant performances by Romnick Sarmenta and Elijah Canlas, this Filipino film won Critics’ Picks Best Film at the 27th PÖFF Tallinn Black Nights Film Fesival, one of the largest A-list film festivals in Europe.

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The film tells the story of Eric, a literature professor at the English Department of the University of the Philippines, who meets up with his student, and rumored lover, Lancelot, months after the suicide of Marcus, a celebrated Filipino writer best known for his novels in English, and Eric’s longtime partner. As their conversation becomes more detailed and complicated, secrets and lies will be unearthed and the sinister nature of their identities will be revealed while they all wrestle with the truth.

About Us But Not About Us was also an official selection at the 43rd Fantasporto in Portugal and the 30th Queer Screen Mardi Gras Film Festival in Sydney. “Lana’s impeccable writing is interpreted beautifully by both actors, a pair of exceptional performances that stand on the edge of complete eruption,” says one review by the International Cinephile Society.

Writer and Director Jun Robles Lana admits About Us But Not About Us is a very personal film for him. “We often lie to make ourselves interesting, thereby twisting and repurposing truths to sway people to our side,” says Lana in his Director’s Statement. “Could the sum of our being be made up of nothing but false narratives and distorted memories?”

About Us But Not About Us opens April 8 in cinemas nationwide, an official entry to the first Summer Metro Manila Film Festival.  It is a production of Octobertrain Films, The IdeaFirst Company and Quantum Films.


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