Warning: May contain spoilers.
You will find yourself jabbed to the heart with this short and simple film.
Kiko Boksingero is one of the full length entries in the 13th Cinemalaya Film Festival. It is a coming-of-age film that will remind you of Leo Tolstoy’s opening lines in his acclaimed novel, Anna Karenina: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
Kiko Boksingero illustrates the story of 11-year-old boy, Francis “Kiko” Arenas, as he copes with his mother’s death and his absentee father. While at the same time he deals with bullies in school and interacts with his crush.
It may seem that the story is too simple but that’s where you will find its charm. Unlike other family dramas, Kiko Boksingero opted to dwell on a common issue — the longing of a child for his parents. It also illustrated how despite living in a well-furnished house and going to a private school, Kiko is still unhappy with his current family situation. A proof that no material possession or wealth can ever fill up that yearning.
Viewers also got a glimpse of how the presence of a loyal nanny, Diday, can never take the place of his mother. The film didn’t try to hide that. Instead, it already laid out that reality at the beginning. Diday already knew that she can be a “mother” to Kiko, and yet, recognizes that she is not “family.”
This truth lands a jab to the heart of the viewers. And when you think that it will go downhill from there, it gives you a glimpse of hope — a reunion between George, Kiko’s father, and him.
From a seemingly glum beginning, viewers take a peek into the minute details of their relationship that eventually blossomed through their love for boxing. The way the film balanced the heaviness of the issue with humor found in little details led the audience to believe that all is well. But it wasn’t.
Kiko Boksingero definitely knows what punches to throw at the right time that you cannot help but stick to the story until the end. Everything about the film mirrors the reality of life — the happy and the sad. It allows the viewers to see and experience a plethora of feelings as it unfolds, much like in real life. And it does not attempt to sugarcoat or even over dramatized the scenes.
In the end, viewers realized that they have been given a punch straight to the heart.
Directed by Thop Nazareno and starring Noel Comia Jr. as Kiko, Yayo Aguila as Diday, and Yul Servo as George, Kiko Boksingero bagged three awards during the 13th Cinemalaya FIlm Festival: Best Actor for Noel Comia Jr.; Best Supporting Actress for Yayo Aguila; and Best Musical Score for Pepe Manikan.
Kiko Boksingero was screened at Ayala Malls Cinemas (Glorietta 4, Greenbelt 1, TriNoma, Fairview Terraces, U.P. Town Center, Solenad and Ayala Center Cebu) during the 13th Cinemalaya Film Festival on August 5-13.