Indie film ‘Area’ gets good reviews

Depicting the piteous verve of the prostitutes in Angeles City, Director Louie Ignacio’s indie film ‘Area’ has received accolades from at least 400 spectators that were left in tears after its Philippine premiere on October 22 at the Trinoma Mall Cinema in Quezon City, Manila.

“Area”, infamously known as the “binyagan” or “dalan matalusad (Kapampangan term which means slippery road)” is a place in Barangay Sta. Teresita (near Pampang), Angeles City, Pampanga where sex workers offer their services at cut-rate.

The staggering indie film is produced by Baby Go, Dennis Evangelista and Ferdie Lapuz and is written by Gawad Urian 2016 Best Screenplay Awardee Robby Tantingco.
The cast are comedy queen AiAi Delas Alas, multi-awarded actor Allen Dizon, Sue Prado, Sancho Delas Alas, Tabs Sumulong, Ireen Cervantes, King and Queen of Kapampangan Poets Francisco Guinto and Eufrocina Peña, and environmentalist and veteran journalist Cecile Yumul.

The film is aimed at showing what’s really going on inside the “Area”, the hierarchy of whorehouse operators, pimps, prostitutes, clients and their protectors, and its contribution in the history of Angeles City.

“‘Area’ is that place nobody talks about in polite conversation, and yet everyone knows what’s going on there. It’s the city’s best-kept secret. I can imagine how many Kapampangan boys and men lost their virginity there. If Fields Avenue is for foreigners, Area is its affordable counterpart, whose patrons are the locals,” Tantingco said.

In the late 1930s, the place served as a hiding place for Huks and NPAs but its clients included military men and the private armies called Beatles and Monkeys.
“There was a time when there were as many as 700 casas inside ‘Area’. Today only two or three have remained. ‘Area’ is about to disappear, and the film is its swan song,” Tantingco added.

Recently the film won Special Jury Prize Winner in the 12th Eurasia International Film Festival held in Kazakhstan and the Official Selection in Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, Estonia.

The film was Graded A by the Cinema Evaluation Board and rated R-18 by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.

Area is set to be screened in cinemas on November 9.

Movie reviews:

“Thanks to its unique screenplay that at first you think that nothing is happening but you will realize after the film its intention of bringing something new to the audience in story telling.”
-Bernard Santos, My Movie World

-Mario Bautista, former Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino

“Marami nang pelikula na nagkuwento tungkol sa “oldest profession” in the world pero sa ‘Area’, it is presented and showed with a lot of delicacy, finesse, restraint and res­pect sa mga karakter who exist in the daily hell they call “life.””
-Alwyn Ignacio, Abante-Tonite

“A gallery of characters is presented to provide studies in contrast and individual differences as well as reveal the complex mix-and-match, cross and interplay of ideological convictions that may have allowed the out-of-the-ordinary enterprise to survive and persist.”
-Nonoy L. Lauzon, Young Critics Circle Film Desk
— Larrica Angela Cunanan