Five PH films in Rotterdam
Five Filipino films are part of the 46th International Film Festival Rotterdam, which ends tomorrow in the Netherlands.
John Torres’ “People Power: The Diary of Vietnam Rose” is part of the Deep Focus/Regained section, while Khavn dela Cruz’s “Alipato: The Very Brief Life of an Ember” is included in the Perspectives/A Band Apart category.
Completing the Filipino lineup in Rotterdam are Jet Leyco’s “Town in a Lake” in Voices, Bagane Fiola’s “Wailings in the Forest” in Bright Future, and Lav Diaz’s “Ang Babaeng Humayo” in Deep Focus/Signatures.
Torres’ film combines “decaying” 35-mm footage from the unfinished 1980s movie of Celso Ad Castillo, with new scenes and interviews, “to complete the portrait of a tormented actress that echoes not only the troubled production, but also the fate of the nation.”
The fest’s website describes it as a “making-of documentary with a mysterious twist…[an] homage to the master, but also to the power of cinematic imagination.”
In sum, the site calls Torres’ film “a fevered trip that acts as a metaphor for the Philippine nation and its traumas.”
Dela Cruz’s “Alipato” is summed up as a “whirlwind mix of humor and grotesque violence.” According to the site, the “productive” Filipino filmmaker “uses slow-mo and high-speed images, plenty of wide-angle shots, animation…in evoking an alarming picture of ‘Mondomanila.’”
The site points out that Leyco’s murder mystery, “Town in a Lake,” “plays with genre tropes…[and] simmers with intensity as it questions systems of control over narratives and society.”
Leyco’s film also “criticizes corruption and politicians…[as it] portrays the magical realism in Filipino culture.”
Fiola’s “Wailings in the Forest,” which features the indigenous Matigsalug community, “fills the screen with serene beauty and formidable intensity.”
The site notes that Fiola tells the story of a tribe in southern Philippines in “long, peaceful shots,” commending the cinematography, which is hailed as “impressive.”
Diaz’s Venice-winning “Ang Babaeng Humayo” represents the country in the Signatures section, which showcases “new work by established filmmakers, auteurs and fest veterans.”
Diaz’s film is summed up as a “compact, calmly breathing narrative” that “juxtaposes the trials and tribulations of individuals with the political, historical and social background of the country…in graphic, contrasting black-and-white, and long, static shots.”
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