Philippines

Gerardo de Leon – Jose Rizal’s “Noli me tángere” (1961)

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A multi-awarded film by Filipino National Artist Gerardo de Leon, based on a novel written by martyr-hero Jose P. Rizal, and which trigerred the Philippine Revolution of 1896. Produced in 1961 for the national celebrations commemorating the birth centenary of Rizal, the film considered lost for almost two decades until its recent restoration by German Archivist. Read More »

Lav Diaz – Siglo ng pagluluwal AKA Century of Birthing (2011)

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One of the most adventurous filmmakers to emerge from the Philippines in decades, Lav Diaz is, in many ways, the spiritual father of what some have called the Filipino New Wave, a group of filmmakers who have adopted digital technology to create an intimate and raw style. At the same time, he stands separate from them, often working on an epic scale and addressing historical shifts in Philippine society. (See his epochal Ebulysion: Evolution of a Filipino Family.) Read More »

Raymond Red – Kabaka AKA Enemy (1983)

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‘Enemy’ is elegaic science-fiction: a fable about the young men trained as Guardians of the Stars and their failure to ward off an unknon ‘enemy’ who manifests himself as white light. Read More »

Lino Brocka – Ang tatay kong nanay AKA My Father, My Mother (1978)

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Lino Brocka’s “Ang Tatay Kong Nanay” (My Father, My Mother, roughly, 1978) is the master filmmaker’s one collaboration with the near-universally acknowledged King of Philippine Comedy, Dolphy (Rodolfo Vera Quizon). Screen legends working with famed filmmakers rarely if ever create sure bets; it’s something of a surprise, then that the resulting picture from these two is so straightforwardly poignant, laced with just enough humor to wriggle past one’s defenses. Read More »

Various – Imahe Nasyon (2006)

MAHE NASYON… a groundbreaking, conceptual omnibus film by 20 alternative filmmakers who were tasked to present their personal visions on national issues. It is underlined by a conceptual question asked by line producers Jon Red & Carol Bunuan-Red:”How do you see the past 20 years?”

In 2006, IMAHE NASYON attempts to answer the question. That question also became a thematic and uniting thread across the films, but each film is made of different cinematic genres that is representative of the filmmaker’s style, stressing the concept that in spite of individual visions we share the same goal: to depict a truthful image of the nation. Read More »

Lav Diaz – Serafin Geronimo, kriminal ng Baryo Concepcion aka The Criminal of Barrio Concepcion (1998)

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Debuting to critical acclaim in 1998, Diaz’s Serafin Geronimo, Kriminal ng Baryo Concepcion, announced the arrival of a major talent, and a possible new direction for Philippines cinema. Where Brocka had examined society’s effect on the individual, Diaz’s Kriminal looked at the effect of the individual’s actions on his conscience. His Russian influences written on his sleeve— the film begins with a quote from Crime and Punishment translated into Tagalog— Diaz’s hero was akin to that of Dostoevsky but atypical of Philippine cinema; a quiet man with a guilty past seeking redemption in the present. With Kriminal, Diaz laid down his archetype character and began to plot the path of his aesthetic. Read More »

Ramona S. Diaz – Motherland (2017)

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Taking us into the heart of the planet’s busiest maternity hospital, the viewer is dropped like an unseen outsider into the hospital’s stream of activity. At first, the people are strangers. As the film continues, it’s absorbingly intimate, rendering the women at the heart of the story increasingly familiar. Read More »