Two PH films in Hamburg
Two Filipino films were part of the recent 25th Filmfest Hamburg. Jet Leyco’s “Matangtubig” (Town in a Lake) and John Torres’ “People Power Bombshell: The Diary of Vietnam Rose” had their German premiere in the Asian Express section of the Hamburg fest.
“We are happy that our film was part of one of Germany’s most essential festivals [that gathers] a huge audience,” Leyco told the Inquirer. “I wish I could’ve been there to join the discussion about the viewers’ experience. Sadly, we were shooting a new horror movie, ‘Second Coming,’ starring Jodi Sta. Maria and Marvin Agustin, under Reality Entertainment.”
“Matangtubig” centers on a sleepy little village that is disrupted by the disappearance of two teenage girls. The Hamburg fest’s website relates that Leyco “interweaves criticism of politics and media with elements of magical realism, [making] a hypnotic, oppressive genre hybrid that only Southeast Asia can produce.”
The fest’s website similarly describes Torres’ film as a “hybrid,” splicing together “an unfinished erotic drama by Celso Ad Castillo … [and] interviews with the original cast,” including producer-star Liz Alindogan.
The Hamburg fest’s website calls Torres’ film “a gripping cinematic experience which is, in equal parts, a homage to a pioneer of contemporary cinema, an examination of the country’s filmic and political heritage and an artistic work in its own right.”
Torres volunteered that he was glad that “the work that Celso and Liz started more than 30 years ago continues to sail on to” different places, including Hamburg, Germany.
Torres explained that “although references are specific to our country’s context, Liz’s tale, a behind-the-scenes account of a film she wanted to make, has translated successfully to foreign audiences.” According to Torres, the film paints “a portrait of a tormented young actress who’s trying to make a name for herself in the 1980s.”
He shared with the Inquirer that he was elated for Alindogan, who finally got to tell her story after three decades. “Although we didn’t make it to the festival, her story continues to be seen all over the world.”
Organizers describe the Hamburg event as “a film festival for the public,” attracting “40,000 fans every year” and serving as “a platform for cultural exchange and dialogue.”
Showcasing around 120 films from all over the world, the annual festival is hailed as an “important meeting point for cinema enthusiasts and the film industry alike.”
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