(We are running this guide to help moviegoers plan their holiday cinema tour. The 45th Metro Manila Film Festival runs from Dec. 25, 2019 to Jan. 7, 2020)
Directed by Brillante Ma Mendoza; written by Honee Alipio, starring Judy Ann Santos, Allen Dizon, Yuna Tangog, Epy Quizon, Ketchup Eusebio, Ruby Ruiz, Richard Manabat and Vince Rillon Judy Ann Santos won best actress at the 2019 Cairo International Film Festival in Egypt for her portrayal of Saima, wife to Malang, a military medic (Dizon).
Saima awaits for Malang’s return from deployment in an area in the South while she tends to their daughter, Aisa (Tangog), who’s battling cancer.
Director Mendoza, meanwhile, won the best artistic contribution award.
Mendoza—whose film credit includes “Kinatay,” which won for him the best director trophy at the Cannes International Film Festival—is known to make films without a detailed script. Santos said Mendoza “adjusted because I told him I don’t know how to work without a script just yet; also because there are terminologies used here pertaining to pediatric cancer.”
“Mindanao” had its world premiere at the 2019 Busan International Film Festival in October. Mendoza said he was aware of comments about the film not being truthful to what is really happening in Mindanao. “People question why I chose to show the armed conflict, when, in fact, it’s just happening in certain places there,” the director told Inquirer Entertainment. “Whether we like it or not, people relate ‘Mindanao’ to the conflict happening there. It has to be a part of it, but you may choose to present it in a different way.”
This explains the inclusion of animation in the film, Mendoza adds. The family’s struggle is juxtaposed with the folklore of Rajah Indara Patra and Rajah Sulayman, the sons of Sultan Nabi, who fights to stop a dragon from devastating Lanao.Aside from international film fests in Cairo and Busan, it was also screened in Tokyo, Taiwan, India, Estonia and Egypt. “If people from other countries liked it, I hope the Filipino audience will like it more, so much so that they’d go to the cinemas this Christmas to see it,” Judy Ann said. —MARINEL CRUZ