• Raymond Red – Himpapawid AKA Manila Skies (2009)

    Down in the streets of Manila, Raul (Raul Arellano) works as a coolie under miserable conditions and for a small wage which does not even cover his monthly rent. To add to his growing frustration, he has to ask his boss for some time off work in order to see his sick father back in his home village in the countryside. Unable to convince his boss, he finally quit his job.Read More »

  • Gary Kildea – Celso and Cora (1983)

    A masterpiece of observational ethnographic cinema style.
    An Australian feature length documentary about a poverty stricken family living in a squatter’s dwelling in Manila, Phillipines. Doc is set during a three month period and tells the story of two parents with two little children who must sell cigarettes to survive. Ethnographic and anthropological film shows the crises the impoverished family must face and is the winner of a number of awards.Read More »

  • Isabel Sandoval – Señorita (2011)

    Wanting to quit sex work in Manila and start a new life elsewhere, Sofia, a transgender woman (played by the director himself, Vincent Sandoval), gets her chance when an old friend asks Sofia to look after her 12-year-old son Tomas while she works overseas for a year. Sofia packs her bags and moves to Talisay, a small town, where she reinvents herself as Donna, guardian of young Tomas. As she’s about to settle into this quiet, idyllic life, the past creeps up on Donna– she discovers that town mayor Tiongson who is seeking re-election is a crony of her regular client back in Manila, Verano. Determined to erase any trace of her past from her new life with Tomas, Donna discreetly hatches a plan to remove Tiongson from power and rid the town of Verano’s influence. As election season begins, Donna offers to help the campaign of Tiongon’s opponent, who is unaware of Donna’s true motives. To finance his campaign, Donna decides to return to Manila once a week for sex work – under the guise of joining gay beauty pageants. As the stakes get higher, Donna realizes that there is no easy way out of the double life she is leading.Read More »

  • Ishmael Bernal – Nunal sa tubig AKA A Speck in the Water (1976)

    Ishmael Bernal’s opus recreates the quality and slow pace of life in a dying village surrounded by the sea as it is caught in the eternal cycle of love and hate, of fertility and pollution, of birth and death. A bold and successful attempt to depart from the usual commercial fare, it cryptically paints a large, bleak canvas showing rural fold and how their chances at redemption and happiness are irreversibly decimated by poverty, ignorance, neglect and the dark side of big business.
    The only existing 35mm copy (with Japanese subtitles) of the film was found in Fukuoka City Public Library Archive, thus the Japanese hardcoded subs.Read More »

  • Eddie Romero – Faces of Love (2007)

    from Mubi:
    After receiving anonymous love letters for the past 10 years, widower Arcadio decides to find out who the mysterious author is. His brother Mariano thinks the search is ridiculous, but Arcadio’s niece Skip is willing to help.Read More »

  • Tikoy Aguiluz – Segurista AKA Dead Sure (1996)

    In the daytime, Karen is an insurance saleswoman in Manila, but in the evening she works as an escort in a club. She is very successful in selling insurance to her escort clients. On the weekends she returns to her husband and daughter in the provinces, who are living amongst the volcanic ash from Mount Pinatubo. She is forced to take stock of her life when Sonny, a rich car dealer, offers to set her up in an apartment.Read More »

  • Lav Diaz – Historya ni Ha (2021)

    Jonathan Romney, Vienna IFF wrote:
    A relatively concise example of Lav Diaz’s expansive essays on Filipino history and imagination, HISTORY OF HA is a period drama set in 1957, although Diaz is characteristically cavalier about authenticity, with modern wheelie suitcases visible and references to algorithms sprinkled across the dialogue. But the past is always visible in the present in his films, and vice versa. This is often expressed by the idea of living in the wake of something, in this case, the death of the Philippines’ then president Ramon Magsaysay in a plane crash.Read More »

  • Denise O’Hara – The Wife (2022)

    A couple’s marriage gets tainted as the husband cheats. How can the wife take her husband’s dying plea to be with her and his mistress at the remaining days of his life?Read More »

  • Lino Brocka – Tubog sa Ginto AKA Dipped in Gold (1970)

    Lino Brocka’s adaptation of Mars Ravelo’s “komiks” melodrama about a successful businessman trying to hide his homosexuality.Read More »

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