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A brief guide to Filipino films at the 38th HKIFF

| March 20, 2014

Filipino films showing at the 38th HKIFF

'On the Job' was a sensation at the Cannes Director's Forthnight.

‘On the Job’ was a sensation at the Cannes Director’s Forthnight.

Sapi

Dir: Brillante MendozaThe Philippines 2013 103minCast: Ruby Ruiz, Baron Geisler, MeryllSoriano, Dennis Trillo Sapi marks Brillante Mendoza’s first foray into horror, although his provocative 2009 Cannes Best Director winner Kinatay veers close to genre territory. Like Kinatay, Mendoza laces his latest with social commentary, this time an indictment of modern-day media and its exploitation of its subjects. Under a foreboding sky, two teams of TV reporters from rival stations are chasing a case of demonic possession. But when the footage is stolen and aired without permission, unnatural manifestations begin to occur to members of the reporting teams themselves.

March 25 (Tue) 9.50pm UA iSquare (25IS3E2)March 27 (Thu) 7.30pm Metroplex (27MP3E1)

Kimmi Dora stars Asian Film Awards nominee Eugene Domingo

Kimmi Dora stars Asian Film Awards nominee Eugene Domingo

Kimmy Dora: Ang Kiyemeng Prequel

Dir: Chris Martinez Philippines 2013 103mins.Cast: Eugene Domingo, Sam Milby, Joel Torre, Angel Aquin Goody two-shoes and ruthlessly evil twins Kimmy and Dora respectively, both played by the masterly Eugene Domingo, have been rivals for most of this successful franchise. However for this supposed finale, we travel back in time where the twins make their way up the family business to prove their worth. But a mysterious threat causes them to set aside differences to save the family. Original Kimmy scriptwriter Martinez directs with an eye on the bright, brash, and populist appeal of the series.

March 30 (Sun) 10.30am Hong Kong Cultural Center (30KG3M1)

Brillante Ma. Mendoza's foray into the horror genre

Brillante Ma. Mendoza’s foray into the horror genre

Sapi

Dir: Brillante MendozaThe Philippines 2013 103minCast: Ruby Ruiz, Baron Geisler, MeryllSoriano, Dennis Trillo Sapi marks Brillante Mendoza’s first foray into horror, although his provocative 2009 Cannes Best Director winner Kinatay veers close to genre territory. Like Kinatay, Mendoza laces his latest with social commentary, this time an indictment of modern-day media and its exploitation of its subjects. Under a foreboding sky, two teams of TV reporters from rival stations are chasing a case of demonic possession. But when the footage is stolen and aired without permission, unnatural manifestations begin to occur to members of the reporting teams themselves.

March 25 (Tue) 9.50pm UA iSquare (25IS3E2)March 27 (Thu) 7.30pm Metroplex (27MP3E1)

A man is wrongly jailed for murder while the real killer roams free.

Lav Diaz’s most accessible work yet.

Norte, The End of History

Dir: Lav Diaz The Philippines 2013 251minCast: Archie Alemania, AngeliBayani, Soliman Cruz, Sid Lucero Norte represents a new beginning of sor ts for uncompromising auteur Lav Diaz. For one, it marks his first work wholly in color since Batang West Side (2001). It is also his shortest feature in well over a decade. Inspirations from Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment lend the film the gravitas of a classic moral tale, albeit one rooted in his country’s history. These elements make Norte Diaz’s most accessible work yet; a great film that unflinchingly reflects the Philippines social mores, past and present.

Synopsis:A man is wrongly jailed for murder while the real killer roams free. The murderer is an intellectual frustrated with his country’s never-ending cycle of betrayal and apathy. The convict is a simple man who finds life in prison more tolerable when something mysterious and strange starts happening to him.

April 6 (Sun) 5.15pm Hong Kong Arts Center (06AC4M3)

Eugene Domingo won best actress at the Tokyo Film Festival.

Eugene Domingo won best actress at the Tokyo Film Festival.

Barber’s Tales(Mga Kwentong Barbero) 

Dir: Jun Robles Lana The Philippines 2013 120minCast: Eugene Domingo, Eddie Garcia, Iza Calzado, Gladys Reyes The award-winning Bwakaw director teams up with actress Eugene Domingo, who memorably stole the show in The Woman in the Septic Tank, in this empowering melodrama about a demure barber’s wife during Ferdinand Marcos’ reign. After her husband’s death, she also proves herself skilled with the shears, even though at first no one wanted a woman to cut men’s hair. However, she is soon forced to choose between helping anti-Marcos rebels and being the corrupt local mayor’s favored barber. Best Actress, Tokyo Film Festival.

March 25 (Tue) 7.20pm UA iSquare (25IS3E1)March 28 (Fri) 9.30pm UA iSquare (28IS3E2)

OTSO marks Elwood Perez's return to indie filmmaking after a long hiatus.

OTSO marks Elwood Perez’s return to indie filmmaking after a long hiatus.

Otso

Dir: Elwood Perez The Philippines 2013 84minCast: Vince Tañada, Monique Azerreda, Anita Linda, Jun Urbano After a decade’s absence from the screen, Elwood Perez throws us back into the sensual overload of Manila streets at election time. In an apartment complex seething with characters – from the aging big screen divas to a congressman’s aide, expatriates to pimps hookers, newcomer resident Lex and his child sidekick Brent create and imagine the life around them as a kaleidoscopic screenplay. Sex, action, mystery, sleight of hand and turnabouts abound in a riotous, inventive vision of life in the city.

Synopsis:Hoping to reconnect with his roots in the city of his birth, Lex (Vince Tanada) returns to Manila. He writes a screenplay for an indie film based on his neighbors in a flat he moves into and what he believes is going on behind their closed doors…but are they really the people he thinks they are?

March 27 (Thu) 5.15pm UA iSquare (27IS3M3D)March 30 (Sun) 9.45pm UA iSquare (30IS3E2)

Quick Change is Eduardo Roy, Jr.'s second feature film.

Quick Change is Eduardo Roy, Jr.’s second feature film.

Quick Change Dir: Eduardo RoyThe Philippines 2013 98minCast: Mimi Juareza, Jun Jun Quitana, Miggs Cuaderno A probing portrait of gay culture in the Philippines, with an air of documentary and the real humanity of family and everyday life. Mimi Juareza commands our attention as the transgendered protagonist Dorina, who desperately struggles to balance her seedy and risky collagen business, her responsibilities to her apprentice nephew, the lives of community and church, and the questions of her unfaithful boyfriend. With an edge of both sympathy and social criticism, the film raises questions far beyond the LGBT community.

Synopsis:Dorina believes she is a lady incarcerated inside a male body. She’s got herself a flourishing career, albeit in an illegal cosmetic surgery business. She is a mother figure to Hero, her eight year old nephew. She acts as a devoted wife to Uno. Between her job and her family, Dorina feels that she is one lucky woman. Until Uno falls in love with another tranny (transvestite).

March 30 (Sun) 2.45pm UA iSquare (30IS3M2)April 1 (Tue) 9.30pm UA iSquare (01IS4E2)

The digitally remastered version of the Lino Brocka masterpiece.

The digitally remastered version of the Lino Brocka masterpiece.

Manila in the Claws of Light

Dir: Lino BrockaThe Philippines 1975 124minCast: Hilda Koronel, Bembel Roco, Lou Salbador Jr.A magnificent restoration of Lino Brocka’s urban masterpiece. Brocka follows Julio, an innocent country boy, into the steamy city as he searches for his love, Ligaya, lured to the capital by promises of lucrative but dubious employment. In a metropolitan inferno of exploitation, brutality, prostitution and violence, Julio struggles towards a final encounter that unleashes the furious destruction of broken lives and indicts the social inequality and depravity of the entire Marcos dictatorship, as the film soars from love story to parable. A true classic of Filipino and world cinema.

Notes on the restoration:The restoration of Maynila: sa mga kuko ng liwanag was made possible through the use of the original camera and sound negatives deposited by Pierre Rissient, on behalf of Lino Brocka, at the BFI
National Archive since the early 1980s. The state of conservation of the negatives was critical.The negative was wet-scanned at 4K resolution. The digital restoration process required considerable
effort due to the great number of issues affecting the negative: tears, scratches, warping, visible
marks and halos.Color decay was also a significant problem.The film’s cinematographer, Mike De Leon, attentively
guided the grading phase and validated a positive print for reference.

March 26 (Wed) 9.30pm UA iSquare (26IS3E2)March 29 (Sat) 2.50pm UA iSquare (29IS3M2)

Ticket Information From 14 March onwardsOnline Booking:www.urbtix.hk
Counter Booking:URBTIX outlets
URBTIX Telephone Credit Card Booking:2111 5999
Ticket Price $75 Ordinary, Weekend and Public Holiday Screenings at HK Cultural Centre / UA iSQUARE$65 Ordinary, Weekend and Public Holiday Screenings at HK Arts Centre / The Metroplex$45 Weekday Matinee Screenings (Mondays – Fridays [except public holidays] film code ends with “D”)

Category: Film

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