‘Alimuom’: Serious Filipino science fiction

Keith Sicat’s indie film “Alimuom” is so unique and rather brave — I mean, when was the last time we saw a Filipino science fiction film that wasn’t hokey, mixed with fantasy or comedic?

“Alimuom” is a ‘serious’ science fiction film that imagines a future Philippines where all agriculture has been outlawed by the government on the grounds that the natural world has turned toxic.

People live beneath “biodomes” but they still have to wear gas masks when stepping out of their homes. Considering what we’ve been doing to the air in the city and how we’ve been poisoning our environment, this is all actually not too far fetched.

Don’t expect clean, sleek science fiction though — imagine a sort of “Bladerunner” feel with both advanced technology but also with items carried over from the past because, well, they’re still useful and functional. Kudos go to Danny Red and Leeroy New, the production designers, and to the special effects department for that cohesive look throughout the film.

I’m also a fan of Francis De Veyra who did the music for this film. The last time I heard his score was for Erik Matti’s “Seklusyon” in 2016. He’s so good at creating mood and music that stays in your head.

A talented cast brings this sci-fi movie to life with (left photo) EpyQuizon, Ina Feleo, (right photo) Mon Confiado and Kiko Matos.

EpyQuizon is in this — he seems to be everywhere lately. He was in the last Filipino film I saw, “Goyo” and will be in the next one I’m seeing, “Trigonal.” His Goyocast mate, Mon Confiado is in too. He has a post credits scene where he had to pull of a “trick” and he told me he did it in one long take.

There’s lots of girl power too on screen and behind the scenes: Ina Feleo takes on the lead role of a scientist married to an outerspace Filipino worker (OFW); Sari Dalena is producer; and Ice Idanan is the cinematographer.

I did wish there was a bit more action in the film, but I do understand this is also a thought piece. If we don’t acknowledge the urgency and importance to stop the indiscriminate dumping of trash, the burning of hazardous fossil fuels, the wastefulness, the lack of value we give to agriculture then we really could envision a future scenario where wars could be fought over food and clean water.

“Alimuom” was part of the ToFarm film festival, which celebrates the life of farmers and the farming community. Hopefully, this film gets some re-screenings, if only because it’s just so different from what we’ve been getting. —KAREN KUNAWICZ

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