Brillante Mendoza's 'Sapi:' The horror of reality
MANILA, Philippines – Internationally acclaimed director Brillante Mendoza talks about his first horror film "Sapi," (Possession) in a live interview with Rappler's G Tongi on Wednesday, November 6.
The interview discussed Mendoza's latest offering, which centers on media, paranoia and demonic possession.
Watch the interview:
Since 2005, Mendoza's films have been screened and applauded in numerous international film festivals from Berlin to Bangkok, to name a few. He became the first Filipino to be awarded Best Director in the 2009 Cannes International Film Festival for his film "Kinatay."
Mendoza's films, among them "Serbis," "Foster Child" and the Nora Aunor starrer "Thy Womb," have earned him awards for outstanding direction.
Mendoza describes his work as a depiction of "social realities about the lives of ordinary people in extraordinary situations against the backdrop of issues that plague the country."
In 2012, after releasing his film "Captive," he told Rappler CEO Maria Ressa that it is his "social responsibility" as a filmmaker to portray hard-hitting issues in his works. The film narrated the tortures undergone by terrorist hostages.
Mendoza told Rappler his latest film is a "product of intensive research, crafted with the highest regard for social reality.”
The film follows a television crew in search of a anyone struck with demonic posession, a story they hope will boost their network's dwindling ratings.
In an act of desperation, the network's young producer makes a secret deal with the rival network's cameraman. She acquires another network's footage of a possession and airs it before the rival does. This "supposed turning point" in the producer's career "spirals into an exorcising reality that mirrors the political system governing the TV network."
Fear of the normal
Mendoza said "Sapi" is a depiction of men as "insensitive, ruthless characters," a state that even paranormal horror pales against. While most people believe there are horrors in the unseen, the reality of everyday "could be truly more horrifying and disturbing."
"The parallelism of two situations: a case of demonic possesion and the callousness of the powerful and influential media exemplify which of them could be more terrifying and fearful," said Mendoza. The film "feels like a documentary within a documentary," which "blurs the boundaries between fiction and news."
With with almost no script on-set and main actors deeply immersed in the lives of their characters, Mendoza called the result "a movie that values authenticity"
"Sapi," produced by Solar Films, premiered in the Toronto International Film Festival in September and opens in the Philippines this November 6.
Watch the 'Sapi' trailer here: