(We are running this guide to help moviegoers plan their holiday cinema tour. The 38th MMFF runs from Dec. 25 to Jan. 8, 2013.)
Directed by Brillante Ma. Mendoza; stars Nora Aunor, Bembol Roco, Lovi Poe, Mercedes Cabral, Ruby Ruiz, Rolando Inocencio, Nurjay Sahali, Dianna Jean Cruz
On an island in southern Philippines, a barren midwife (Aunor) looks for a suitable young second wife (Poe) for her husband (Roco), so he can have a child. The country’s entry to this year’s Venice fest, the indie drama won the Bisato D’Oro prize for Aunor and La Navicella and P. Nazareno Taddei special mention for Mendoza. Aunor also won best actress, and Mendoza best director, at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards in Brisbane, Australia. Variety’s Guy Lodge calls it “the gentlest film to date from the hard-working Filipino provocateur.” The Hollywood Reporter’s Neil Young commends the “alluring scenery and sympathetic lead performance,” singling out Aunor’s “elfin, powerfully expressive features.” Cinevue’s Jo-Ann Titmarsh hails it as “moving and visually captivating, with two commanding yet understated central performances.” It has been graded “A” by the Cinema Evaluation Board.