Independence Day Watchlist: Impactful Filipino Films That Are On Netflix

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Though Filipino films may already be a winner when it comes to the kilig-worthy romantic films, that’s not the only genre in the industry that deserves acclaim.

This coming Independence Day, stay indoors, tap into your inner film critic, and get immersed with these homegrown films featuring issues close to Filipinos’ hearts.

During these tumultuous times, these pieces don’t just highlight what’s important but uplift the voices of those that have been silenced.

Heneral Luna (2015)

This modern classic follows the lives of one of the country’s most underrated war leaders, the fierce and hardheaded general Antonio Luna. Expertly portrayed by veteran actor John Arcilla, this film opened the minds of many young people with the ever-burning question: Bayan O Sarili?

Don’t have Netflix? TBA Studios has also released the full-length video for free viewing on their YouTube channel.

Once done, you can move on to the story of Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral, also brought by TBA Studios and follows the idealistic young general played by Paulo Avelino.

Buy Bust (2018)

During the height of the bloody War on Drugs, this Erik Matti film takes us (literally and metaphorically) deep into the very victims of the massacre: the masses. With Anne Curtis as Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) elite agent Nina Manigan, we see the star at her most physically-demanding role yet.

Navigating the apocalyptic fictional slums of Gracia ni Maria in Manila, viewers eyes ought to be awakened to the system that exploits each of its members – except the ones on top.

Pamilyang Ordinaryo (2016)

It’s no wonder that this film won big at Venice Days competition, a competition that’s been described as a mini-Venice Film Festival. The heartbreaking film follows a young couple who live on the streets and depend on diskarte and alms to get by.

When their newborn son goes missing, we’re taken to the heart of what it means to be a family living each day like their last – and how there’s no truly satisfying conclusion when the system only lends you its scraps.

Birdshot

Debuting as the very first Filipino film to be released worldwide through Netflix, Birdshot undoubtedly has big shoes to fill – and it doesn’t disappoint.

Helmed by the talented young director Mikhael Red, Birdshot is a multi-hyphenate coming of age/mystery/thriller classic that follows the death of a Philippine eagle and a busload of farmers. At the center of the mystery is a young girl with a mystifying presence.

The film also won the Best Picture in the Asian Future award at the 2016 Tokyo International Film Festival.

Iska (2019)

Remember when movie theatres were a thing? Before worldwide restrictions temporarily closed down public spaces like cinemas, Iska made waves as it brought forth local representation for children in the autism spectrum.

Directed by Theodore Boborol, the film is sure to tug heartstrings and make us remember the undying love of our grandparents.