Saturday, May 31, 2008

Raya Martin in Director's Fortnight, Brilliante Mendoza in Cannes

The director of the brilliant Indio Nacional (2005) has made it not to the official Cannes festival, but to a parallel festival, the Quinzaine des realisateurs, or Director's Fortnight, which has its own more eclectic reputation, that of being the discoverer new, quirkier talent, where the Cannes festival is more likely to screen the works of established filmmakers. This meant the French debut of directors like Werner Herzog, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Jim Jarmusch, Nagisa Oshima, Michael Haneke, the Dardennes brothers, and many others, and has screened the films of Robert Bresson and Manoel de Oliveira, Stephen Frears. I think Martin makes for an excellent addition to their ranks.

The links lead to two of three (apparently the third isn't available as of this time) video interviews of the filmmaker, who talks about his filming and logistical methods, his scriptwriting style (for his first two features, he didn't have any), and how Indio Nacional, Autohystoria and Now Showing form not a trilogy, but the beginnings of three separate trilogies. Ah, youth! And more power to him, for his ambitions...

Raya Martin talks about his new film Now Showing (2008) Part 1

Raya Martin talks about his new film Now Showing (2008) Part 2

Briliante Mendoza, on the other hand, is an entirely different creature, a teller of conventional yet intense narratives about Philippine life (Kaleldo (2006) was about the lives of three daughters in a provincial town; Manoro (same year) is about a young girl who teaches her illiterate townsfolk how to read, to enable them to cast votes in a coming election; Foster Child (2007) is the quite moving story of a woman who makes it a business to raise parentless children for adoption; Tirador (same year) about slumdwellers in Quiapo). His stories are told in the kind of handheld, cinema verite of the Dardannes brothers, making full use of his uniquely Filipino settings. His latest film Serbis (Service, 2008) was chosen for the Official Competition in Cannes.

In the following video clips, Mendoza talks about the source material for the film (the porn theaters that inspired his premise), and the sound problems noted by some critics, which he maintains is actually an immersive statement, and how surprised he was to have shocked the Cannes audience:

Brillante Mendoza talks about his new film Serbis (Service, 2008) Part 1

Brilliante Mendoza talks about his new film Serbis (Service, 2008) Part 2

Brilliante Mendoza talks about his new film Serbis (Service, 2008) Part 3


Jesús Cortés said...

I liked very much your comments on "Defining moments in cinema". I only knew about philippino cinema through Lino Brocka features and i have discovered (with a great effort) several movies from Mike de Leon and others). I am impressed with Conrado Baltazar. It´s an impossible "Michael Balhaus meets Charles Burnett"

Noel Vera said...

Not sure about this, but it's possible some of Burnett's higher profile features--TV movies even--may have a bigger budget than some Filipino films.

Matt said...

I think I might have accidentally appended this comment on an older entry, so here goes again:


Once more I find myself in Singapore (though I’ll be gone for a short while in Tioman soon) and yet again I'm finding it difficult to see films beyond the homogenized Hollywood flicks or low-brow, high-access Asian cinema I could see practically anywhere. I never expect such endeavors to be easy, but any push in the right direction—assuming a direction exists—would be only graciously appreciated. I’d love to check out some Malay or Philippine cinema (or basically anything by relatively local filmmakers not named Jack Neo) in-theater or on video/DVD. Is this possible in Cineplex-saturated Singapore?

Noel Vera said...

Filipino films in Singapore? I don't know. Do you know anyone in the Singapore Film Festival? They might be able to help you.

Matt said...

Not right off hand, but I can probably track someone down and drop them a line. Thanks for the suggestion; I don't know why I didn't think of that.

Saber Hawk said...

Noel, both Serbis and Now Showing
are going to be shown in this year French film festival.

Anonymous said...

I heard Raya Martin's Independencia made it officially to a category at Cannes Film Festival. I can't wait to see that film on screen here in the Philippines. I just hope it doesn't suffer the same case Pasion's Jay did and will eventually get released for at least a week in local cinemas.
-Spock!Mesa Boogie Yourself, ESP Man!