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MANILA, Philippines - Filipino films are once again making waves in international film circles.
A film by acclaimed Filipino director Adolf Alix Jr and another by newcomer Shireen Seno will make their international premiere at the 42nd International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) to be held from January 23 to February 3 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
The 12-day festival is one of the most well-attended film festivals in the world, comparable in size to other major festivals like Cannes, Venice, Berlin and Locarno.
Mother of crime
“Mater Dolorosa” is Alix’s 21st feature film. Following the success of his previous film “Kalayaan,” Alix brings viewers yet another haunting story of humanity in the midst of crime.
Set in an old district of Manila, the film stars Gina Alajar as the head of an illegal business circuit. She and her family engage in drug dealing, carnapping, and gambling.
The programmer note by Gertjan Zuilhof of the Rotterdam film festival writes of Alix, “The level of craftsmanship is extremely high and his rapport with the actors shows great experience and self-assurance. His style in directing gives the film a classic appeal.”
“Big Boy,” the feature film by Seno, is set in the rural island of Mindoro in the 1950s when the country was just rising from the ravages of World War II. The story revolves around Julio, forced by his parents to undergo bizarre trials so that he can grow taller and serve as the success story of the cod liver oil concoction his parents devised to make money.
Out of poverty, his parents are forced to give his 2 youngest sisters to his childless aunts. As the eldest of 6 siblings, he is motivated to sell empanadas on the street to get them back.
Shot solely on super 8mm film, the grainy texture and intimate feel of the cinematography was used to evoke the nostalgia of lost childhood.
Shireen Seno’s Big Boy will premiere in the “Bright Future” section where filmmakers showcase their 1st or 2nd feature films.
Alix’s “Mater Dolorosa” is in the “Spectrum Section” for seasoned filmmakers whose work is a unique contribution to the diversity and depth of films from different cultures. The film will also compete in the IFFR’s “The Big Screen Award.”
The good reception the 2 films are already getting proves that, whether they are newcomers or veterans, Filipino filmmakers have something to show the world. - Rappler.com
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