AFI Fest 2021- “Holy Emy”, A Slow Burn Coming of Age Tale: Film Capsule Review

Director Araceli Lemos has mounted a massive thematic medley for her debut feature, Holy Emy. The film follows Emy, a young Filipino teenager in Greece who has to learn to forge her own identity as she searches for an answer to her frequent ocular bleeding.

Lemos blends an intimate portrait of the strongly religious Filipino community in Athens and the potential of the supernatural all into a coming of age tale, led by Abigael Loma (Emy) and her quiet dominance. Despite the breadth of complexity in Holy Emy, the pacing of the film trudges along at times.

However, the mystique surrounding Emy’s ‘holy’ circumstances is intriguing enough to continue watching. While the script may feel like that of a debut feature, the shot composition and directorial decisions made in Holy Emy ensures that Lemos is a up-and-coming talent to keep an eye on.

The Silver Lining

Hasmine Kilip proves that she is a star in the making in her role as Emy’s maternal sister, Teresa. Kilip brings the perfect mix of innocence and maturity to her character that is so necessary for Teresa’s dual desires to grow up and fit in.

Holy Emy is a part of AFI Fest’s 2021 official selection. The film is coming soon to a screen near you.


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