Nakaw is a short film by Arvin Belarmino and Noel Escondo that speaks about the ills of society and how things are not always as they appear. From a simple snatching incident, the film depicts how easily it was for an incident to escalate into something bigger and much more tragic.
In a space of minutes, Nakaw is able to set the stage for a series of events that will end up to a tragic death, not exactly as one would expect as the film goes through the issues of poverty, desperation, adultery, corruption, and summary killings.
Kudos to the filmmakers for effectively being able to convey the rottenness in Philippine society with minimal dialogue, follow cam techniques and basically capturing life in the slums au naturele.
The thread is effectively laid out — from a child who is forced to steal because of a sick mother, a man who seeks revenge after his wife cheats on him, a policeman who sees the lives of the poor as trash and how they all meld together in a gritty combination to tell a story that is fictional but can just as easily be real.
My chief complaint for the film would be the lack of lighting, which many indie films are prone to. But given the limited time and resources for its creation, it was a pretty laudable effort.
All in all, the manner in which Nakaw was shot was closer to reality than any other film in the short film category of Cinemalaya 2017. It makes no apologies for its imperfections and embraces its role fully as a reflection of society.