Tuesday, 10 August 2010


(Brilliante Mendoza; France/ Philippines; 2009)

This is my first opportunity to see a film by Mendoza, whose film Kinatay provoked a fair storm of controversy last year at Cannes, and is probably not likely to surface here in Australia anytime soon. He has only started directing film since 2005 but has already pumped out 9 films, and this, his latest, is a commendable slice of realist drama. The film cuts naturally and deftly between two grandmothers, one who is grieving for her murdered grandson and having to deal with the aftermath of the funeral, courts, expenses, and finding retribution, the other attempting to acquit her son of the murder of the grandson. A relationship is struck with both camps – we feel for the grandmother of the murdered son and want justice to be served, yet the anguish and confusion of the mother of the potential murderer also clamours for emotional attention. Although this film concentrates objectively and somewhat dispassionately on these two women, placing their plight within the quotidian framework of the hustle and bustle of the city, it is not a cold film, and the sense that these women are searching for a resolution on their own terms gives the film strength and force. Ultimately, this is also a city-film, where the lives of the individuals are marked by the noise, grit, and howl of the city.

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